[ntp:questions] Which version of Linux works best?

David Lord snews at lordynet.org
Wed Mar 10 19:10:02 UTC 2010

David J Taylor wrote:
> Yes, I know it's one of those low long is a piece of string questions, 
> but I'm now considering a dual-core Intel Atom system, which is 
> "Compatible with Linux" according the the very minimal blurb I have 
> right now.  If the system is to be used purely for NTP with Linux as a 
> serial-port GPS/PPS stratum-1 server (and, yes, I know dual-core isn't 
> needed for that, but I might want to boot Windows-7 64-bit 
> occasionally), and considering that I know very little about Linux, 
> which version of Linux would the group recommend?  Does it make any 
> difference as far as timekeeping is concerned?

"Linux" I think is just the kernel whilst filesystem and packages
are very diverse between distributions.

If you don't already know Linux well already then I'd suggest
FreeBSD as being a more solid base than a Linux distribution.

Otherwise I favour Slackware/Centos mainly because I'm more
familiar with filesystem layout vs that of other distros such
as Ubuntu.

I have had chrony running on NetBSD but as with ntpd can't get
most recent versions to install/run. It should be ok on Linux
and probably on FreeBSD but you'd need confirmation vs refclock
drivers on FreeBSD for that.

Certainly here on NetBSD chrony looks to give offsets a third or
less than ntpd and avoids the square wave offset traces from ntpd
that result from inability to correct for temperature changes,
however I had problems with incompatibility between different
chrony versions so given up to it until I have some spare system
and time to work with.


> Two secondary questions:
> - how much better might FreeBSD be than Linux?  Any actual measurements?
> - and one for Bill, how much better might chrony be than official NTP? 
> Does it have a preferred Linux, or even freeBSD?
> The system would /not/ be in a temperature controlled environment.
> Thanks,
> David

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