[ntp:questions] Re: Why ntpd is losing out to openntp at OpenBSD (was: Windows - Seven Days Later)

Garrett Wollman wollman at lcs.mit.edu
Thu Oct 14 21:55:09 UTC 2004

In article <T1097787372 at djwhome.demon.co.uk>,
David Woolley <david at djwhome.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>Open BSD's lawyer's argument is that the current licence does not permit
>this because the phrase "without fee" can be seen as qualifying "and

I've had to deal with this bogus argument for some time with respect
to the MIT license (which is also the X11 license, on which I believe
the UDel license is based).  It has always been understood that the
"without fee" modifies "is hereby granted".  Of course, a contract
lawyer's job is to point out potential ambiguities in the terms of an
agreement that might be interpreted to his client's detriment.  (The
Open Group, when they took over the X Consortium, modified the license
slightly to eliminate this perceived ambiguity by moving the words
"without fee" after "granted".)

>The consequence of this dispute about the meaning of "without fee" is
>that a significant segment of the open source community is ganging up
>against ntpd in favour of a poor alternative, which is really SNTP, not

Actually, this issue has not come up (at least in relation to ntpd) in
FreeBSD at all.  The major reasons FreeBSD has been contemplating
moving UDel ntpd out of base in favor of openntpd are:

1) SNTP is sufficient for most end systems' requirements.
2) The security posture of UDel's code base makes many people
2a) UDel's code base is very large and results in great deal of repo
churn every time a new version is imported.
3) Deprecation of ntpdate has angered many users.
4) Difficulty of keeping manual pages up-to-date with changes in UDel

That said, there seems to be a consensus that openntpd is
insufficiently mature to take over at this time.  You are invited to
look at the FreeBSD mailing-list archives for a more detailed


Garrett A. Wollman   | As the Constitution endures, persons in every
wollman at lcs.mit.edu  | generation can invoke its principles in their own
Opinions not those of| search for greater freedom.
MIT, LCS, CRS, or NSA| - A. Kennedy, Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. ___ (2003)

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