[ntp:hackers] Cool new stuff

David L. Mills mills at udel.edu
Thu Jul 20 21:10:01 UTC 2006


We are in the final stages of testing radically new stuff:

1. Remote configuration/mobilization/demobilization at any time using 
ntpq. The commands are identical to those in the configuration file now. 
In principle, it is possible to bring up a raw daemon and configure it 
entirely from ntpq.

2. A pool mobilization scheme similar to manycast, but using only a 
single DNS query.

3. Syntactic definition of all commands using a formal grammar and 
automatically constructed parser produced by bison.

4. Improved simulation using scripts and multiple sources.

As you might expect, the configuration code is almost completely gutted 
and the ntpdc remote configuration no longer works. On the other hand, 
al lot of things that were once applicable to all associations can now 
be applied on a per-association basis. At this time the command syntax 
and semantics support the current interpretation. The plan is to provide 
a command line switch to enable the legacy interpretation and whatever 
new interpretation seems advised. This is expected to evolve using 
C-type syntax with curly brackets and semicolons.

The syntax change will be considered radical by many and the end of 
ntpdc remote configuration will be considered evil by some. The ntpdc 
program continues to be supported but without the capability for remote 

Lots of things haven't been thorougly tested and several improvements, 
like the ability to read configuration files by ntpq, need to be on the 
todo list. However, Sachin Kamboj, the ace implementer of this stuff, is 
no longer supported by contract and is volunteering his own time. 
Probably the best way to proceed is to bring up a parallel version for a 
very short breaking-in test and then switch it to ntp-dev. Sachin is now 
doing this with diffs, which simplifies the switchover. I'd like the 
autoconfigurus to look at it and see if the syntax tree construction and 
merge can be automated.

If you have thoughts about this, please honk. When ready for test I will 
aadvise. Probably a ntp-new directory on deacon:/backroom.


P.S. Testing has been complicated by intermittent huge spasms of debug 
messages apparently emitted by the interface code. Can this be 
attentuated or moved to a higher -d level? DLM

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