[ntp:questions] Re: Public servers?

David Woolley david at djwhome.demon.co.uk
Mon Aug 4 06:29:56 UTC 2003

In article <mailman.16.1059945885.1777.questions at ntp.org>,
Brad Knowles <brad.knowles at skynet.be> wrote:

> 	Which means what?  That anyone should be allowed to abuse any 
> server they like in any way they like?!?

It means that any mechanism to ensure globally efficient use of NTP cannot
rely on users making informed decisions about anything other then monetary,
or possibly, personal time costs.

Consequently, it means that the only way that people will act responsibly
is if the cost to them is proportional to the cost to the network.  To  achieve
that, you probably have to both reduce the cost of doing the right thing and
increase the cost of doing the wrong thing.  For most users, fighting through
an ISP's support system is much more expensive than using the first
stratum 1 server in the public servers list (people will assume that a
stratum two may not be as good quality), or using a program that finds the
nearest NTP capable router.

For a vendor, using USNO, which they can assume will always be there,
is much cheaper than providing advice to their users and leaving the
system unconfigured would make the product less saleable.

Decisions ceased to be made on the basis of anything other than "what's
best for me in the short term" when the internet was commercialised.

Note that you cannot enforce good behaviour in a client, without heavy
use of intellectual property law, as market forces will result in more
successful competing products that are the same but without the restriction.
(This is potentially true of kiss-of-death; there is no benefit to a mass
market commercial vendor in supporting that in their clients, only the
cost of actually finding and removing the code will stop them removing it.)

PS Please do not duplicate postings in email, and if insist on doing so,
please don't post through a mechanism that corrupts the Message-ID, making
it impossible to anticipate the posting's arrival.   Actually, the original
Message-ID is an example of users doing things for ease rather than best
operation of the internet.  Message-IDs include the host name to define
the scope of uniqueness of the rest of the identity, but yours contains
a non-unique network 10 address, so could clash with other network 10
users.  (The best solution I've seen for senders who don't know their
domain name, or don't want to reveal it, is Agent, which makes the "user"
field unique and and uses a domain owned by the vendor to scope that.)

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