Web lists-archives.com

Re: NTP.conf pool vs server

On Wed, Jun 07, 2017 at 03:54:26PM +0100, Darac Marjal wrote:
On Wed, Jun 07, 2017 at 10:35:23AM -0400, Gene Heskett wrote:
On Wednesday 07 June 2017 08:56:59 ray wrote:

I would like to know the correct syntax for entering a server entry
for stretch.

All the documentation I find says to list the ntp servers in the file
as: server 0.XX.pool.ntp.org
server 1.XX.pool.ntp.org

An example source from 2017 is https://wiki.debian.org/DateTime

When I open /etc/ntp.conf on my new stretch installation, I find this
format: pool 0.debian.pool.ntp.org iburst
pool 1.debian.pool.ntp.org iburst

The latest Debian doc says to start the line with 'server'.
The latest Debian implementation starts the line with 'pool'.

Are these interchangeable?

As I understand it "server" will do name resolution once and pick an IP
from the result. "pool" will periodically refresh the name and cycle to
a different member of the pool.

See also https://www.eecis.udel.edu/~mills/ntp/html/confopt.html#pool

Additionally, there is a parameter 'iburst' which I did not find in
the Debian docs but found at http://doc.ntp.org/4.1.1/confopt.htm

Did you install ntp-doc? Did you check there?


Begin rant:

From someone who is currently battling a fresh jessie install that didn't
even come with ntpdate installed, and which using the above format
in /etc/ntp.conf is still about 12 hours off on an rpi-3.

Installing ntpdate and attempting to start it gets me a no servers found
message, yet they are defined as discussed above, and the network is
fully accessible to all other forms of communication.

That doc on www.ntp.org is nice, but worthless to someone who just wants
it to work. I have quite a zoo of machines here, and I see little
advantage to each one banging on a network server, when it needs an
update.  But does it give even a hint of how to make this machine, or
heaven forbid, my router, which keeps time via ntp, and which I believe
has the time broadcast enabled, (its dd-wrt in a buffalo box) into a
server that the rest of my machines can listen to to get the correct
time. If I could achieve that, it would reduce the loading on the time
servers at debian or pool.ntp.org by a factor of 5 or 6 just from my
home network.

By a factor of 5 or 6? You think you own 5 or 6 times more servers than
everyone else combined? (I think you just mean "reduce [...] by 5 or

Does your router inform other devices on the network that it should be
used as a time server? In the DHCP specification there is an option
called "time-servers". The idea is that a network administrator sets
this to be the approved time servers for the network and clients
synchronise to that. In debian, this is facilitated by
/etc/dchp/dhclient-exit-hooks.d/ntp (at least, if you use the ISC DHCP
client). That script will read the "time-servers" option from the DHCP
packet, write /var/lib/ntp/ntp.conf.dhcp and ensure that file is
included from your main ntp.conf. As far as I'm aware, this is default

But a manpage that actually tells us how to do that must be sick bird,
because its not been written yet.  Man page writers please get real, and
tell us how to do something like getting our home networks all
synchronized to our routers which can then broadcast it to the rest of
our network.

There's an XY problem here. You probably shouldn't put this information
into the NTP man pages, as it's not NTP that's doing the work. The
information about the "time-servers" option *is* in the DHCP manpage,
but probably there's no information about the specific hook being

My mistake, the correct option is "ntp-servers".


If the NTP hook is Debian-specific, then... I don't know where that
should be documented. If it's upstream, then... Well, if every project
documented every decision for creating every file, then there'd be a lot
to wade through.

Such a scheme can easily keep us on time with any errors within a few
milliseconds, more than adequate enough for the girls I go with. While
reducing the load on the servers by at least 80%.

So how about a manpage that tells us how to do that?  If its not illegal
according to some rfc that is.

Rant off.

Thanks for reading.

Cheers, Gene Heskett
"There are four boxes to be used in defense of liberty:
soap, ballot, jury, and ammo. Please use in that order."
-Ed Howdershelt (Author)
Genes Web page <http://geneslinuxbox.net:6309/gene>

For more information, please reread.

For more information, please reread.

Attachment: signature.asc
Description: PGP signature