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

Kevin Oberman oberman at es.net
Wed Mar 10 20:54:16 UTC 2010

> From: Chuck Swiger <cswiger at mac.com>
> Date: Wed, 10 Mar 2010 09:32:21 -0800
> Sender: questions-bounces+oberman=es.net at lists.ntp.org
> On Mar 10, 2010, at 7:25 AM, 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?
> The hardware you get matters much more than which OS or flavor of
> Linux you use; tweaking kernel compiler optimization flags matters
> even less.  It would be good to look into the hardware you get in
> terms of support for HPET, p-state invariant TSC, or how good the ACPI
> timers are.

I'd suggest that you simply run NTP on a uniprocessor. Disable any
frequency management in the OS. This eliminates most of the major issues
impacting NTP and you really don't need more than one old, slow CPU to
do the job.

Avoid newer, high performance network cards that do interrupt coalescing
or be sure it is disabled. It will shoot the jitter between the server
and clients through the roof.

FWIW, all of my stratum 1 NTP servers are running FreeBSD 7 on P4

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