[ntp:hackers] ntpdate removal is coming

Dave Hart hart at ntp.org
Mon Jul 25 22:22:01 UTC 2011

On Mon, Jul 25, 2011 at 20:20 UTC, Brian Utterback
<brian.utterback at oracle.com> wrote:
> I have run into a bit of a snag regarding ntpdate and ntpdc. You may or
> may not know that Solaris has certain policies regarding the removal or
> changing of user programs and libraries. We can only make certain
> changes at certain points in the release cycle. The development of
> Solaris 11 is at a stage that I can only make minor changes to it. I
> currently have 4.2.5p200 integrated and it will ship with that.
> What that means is, if I ship ntpdate and ntpdc in Solaris 11, I cannot
> stop shipping them until Solaris 12. This means that I can only update
> Solaris 11 to the last NTP version that includes them until Solaris 12
> ships.

Keep in mind I proposed removing or disabling the support in ntpd for
ntpdc (that is, mode 7 operations), but leaving ntpdc in the
distribution for some time to come to enable managing older ntpd
instances with the current tools.  I suspect you would want the mode 7
support disabled by default at most, but not removed, due to the same

> So, I have three alternatives. One is that I don't ship ntpdate and/or
> ntpdc in Solaris 11. I don't know if ntpd in 4.2.5p200 is an adequate
> replacement or not. But I do know that ntpq in 4.2.5p200 does not
> replace ntpdc.
> Two, I update to the last ntp-dev that has them included, whatever that
> turns out to be.
> Three, I replace ntpdate and/or ntpdc with something that takes the same
> command line arguments and subcommands and implements the same
> functionality. Typically this would be a shell script that munges the
> flags and calls another program. Or something like what was done with
> ntptrace.

Not shipping ntpdate in Solaris 11 would be best from my perspective,
in terms of keeping your options open to update to a newer NTP
distribution in Solaris 11 later.  ntpd 4.2.5p200 does have support
for ntpd -q (ntpdate mode), so your init scripts, if you feel
necessary, can set the time before starting the daemon ntpd.

> So, if ntpd in 4.2.5p200 is a good replacement for ntpdate, I could not
> ship that. This would be good if the removal of ntpdc is not planned for
> as early a time as ntpdate. But if both of them are in imminent danger,
> then this would not help.
> So, I need some advice. Could ntpdate and ntpdc be kept in the distro
> but not built or installed by default? Does anybody happen to know what
> functionality was missing from ntpd regarding the ntpdate functions?

It's conceivably ntpdate source code be left in and not built by
default, instead of simply removed, but that would probably result in
a majority of distributors just punting by adding the option to build
the old ntpdate, which has been on the chopping block for years.  I'd
prefer to replace it with a script implemented in terms of ntpd and/or
sntp.  As I said, ntpdc isn't going anywhere soon, the issue there is
with support for ntpdc's mode 7 operations in ntpd.

Dave Hart

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