Thursday, 12 December 2013

ntp and ntpdate [was: Ubuntu Server seeded package review]

On Thu, Dec 05, 2013 at 05:15:41PM -0600, C de-Avillez wrote:
> Although I am probably hammering a rather cold iron, I still fail to
> understand why ntp is not installed by default. I would expect precise
> timekeeping to be something important on a server (instead of allowing
> the time to drift slowly).

Right now, ntpdate is seeded in platform.trusty/minimal. I only see ntp
itself in server-ship, so we end up with ntpdate installed without ntp
as standard everywhere.

I recently filed
http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=731352. There, I'm told
that ntpdate on its own (without ntpd) is deprecated.

So should we be installing ntpdate by default without ntp at all via the
minimal seed? If so, then I'd like to have ntpdate use the DHCP
ntp-server option if it is available, as I've described in that bug, to
fix a MAAS issue on hardware where an RTC isn't available. It looks like
this functionality has been there a while, but has not been enabled in
the case where ntp isn't installed, but ntpdate is, which is the common
case.

I thought that it might be worth considering this at the same time as
Carlos' case.

So:

1) Is using ntpdate without ntp the right approach; and
2) will treating NTPDATE_USE_NTP_CONF as no if ntp.conf doesn't exist
(or otherwise changing behaviour to make the if-up.d hook fix the system
time) break anything?

Robie