[ntp:questions] NTPD silently not tracking

Brian Utterback brian.utterback at oracle.com
Sun Sep 1 13:51:41 UTC 2013

On 9/1/2013 7:10 AM, Rob wrote:
> Maarten Wiltink <maarten at kittensandcats.net> wrote:
>> "unruh" <unruh at invalid.ca> wrote in message
>> news:n5lUt.340835$QT4.176258 at fx22.iad...
>>> On 2013-08-31, E-Mail Sent to this address will be added to the BlackLists
>>>    <Null at BlackList.Anitech-Systems.invalid> wrote:
>> [...]
>>>>   perhaps it has already been fixed in a more recent version.
>>> Sorry, but I have always found this to be a complete copout. You can
>>> keep the complainer busy till doomsday trying out different version and
>>> different configs. Do you know that others have had this person's
>>> problem? Do you know thatthe latest version fixes them? Otherwise you
>>> are simply sending him on a fishing expidition.
>> As a developer (not NTP) myself, I don't react well to people
>> complaining about bugs I've already solved, just not in the version
>> they have. So the first reply is always going to be 'upgrade, and see
>> if it goes away.' Especially with things like NTP, if it goes away, the
>> problem is solved.
>> Even if you're not sure, you try this first. Plain common sense, and
>> common courtesy. No fishing expedition, just a one-time upgrade and if
>> the problem stays we go to work.
>> Groetjes,
>> Maarten Wiltink
> Like "unruh", I hate developers and companies with this attitude.
> When there is no reason to believe that a particular problem is solved
> in a later release, it is just annoying when the suggestion from
> support departments is to first install the latest version and see
> if that fixes it.  It is just a way to wave off the initial complaint
> and to keep others busy.
> What is even worse: when people report an issue and it goes on a bug
> registration system (e.g. bugzilla), and after some time has elapsed a
> person marks all open bugs with remarks like "we have not heard about
> you for a while, please install latest version maybe it was fixed".
> As if that many bugs are fixed by accident.  Sometimes it even happens
> with feature requests.
> Also remember that it is not always straightforward to upgrade a
> program.  People often install ntpd as part of an OS (Linux) distribution,
> and it is integrated into the system by their distributor.
> Getting a newer version compiled from scratch and replacing the integrated
> version can be a major and risky operation, especially for someone not
> proficient in such tasks.

You get what you pay for. As a support professional, I will not suggest 
upgrading unless I have reason to believe that the upgrade will actually 
fix the problem. Often upgrading is the right thing to do if there is a 
good chance that in that one step the problem is solved instead of 
having a prolonged series of tests and analysis. Keep in mind that even 
if we finally do isolate a bug and fix it, the customer will still have 
to upgrade to get the fix.

But certainly mindless "upgrade and see if it goes away" is not what you 
expect from a support contract. So, if you have a paid support contract 
for NTP, then fine, you have a right to complain. If not and you are 
getting help from volunteers, then I think they have a right to expect 
that you have done what you can to eliminate the problem yourself 
including upgrading to the latest available version if possible, or at 
least to take it under advisement if it is suggested to you and to 
explain why you can't if it isn't possible.

Brian Utterback

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