[ntp:questions] Re: Latest changes to TWiki GettingStarted

Harlan Stenn stenn at maccarony.ntp.org
Sun Oct 5 04:11:11 UTC 2003

In article <3F7F8A8F.4DF90EA2 at udel.edu>, David L. Mills <mills at udel.edu> wrote:

>Yes, I do have some thoughts. It should be possible for a greenie to
>bring up a bare-simple NTP installation without having to navigate
>anything except what comes with the distribution. There are lots of
>other packages that conform to this model, including openssl, openssh,
>amanda, gcc and many others I have had to climb over myself recently.

Yes, and I suspect it will be at least a year until we can get there.

Remember, others have tried this.  Ask the folks at UWisc or in Australia.

ntp is a unique beast - its behavior can affect a ton of other machines.

We have already determined that we can't even expect that multicast will
work within a subnet and have no generally useful way to find external
servers from which to get time.

Also, too many Linux boxes come with restricted "firewalls" that block
NTP packets.

As a goal, I agree with you.

>There is definitely an image problem in the NTP documentation area right
>now and not a little bit of religious ferver to promote the twichy as AI
>newbie helper. I have no problem with that as long as more conventional
>alternatives are available, includint the reference pages, README files,
>faq and newsgroup. Anybody can see from the current distribution the
>cultural divide between manpagers and webpagers. There's several README
>text files largely duplicated in the HTML pages. Now that everybody has
>a browser I see no need for the READNE text files other than pointers to
>the HTML pages, especially of HTML->text utilities are available. It
>could be well the case that some HTML pages are a mouthful and probably
>should be split, but there are tutorial and quickstart pages.

Please tell me which README files are duplicates of other docs.

As for getting rid of text docs in favor of html and a converter, that may
be OK for some pages but not for anything having to do with building or
installing the software.

Perhaps we can auto-generate the texst files, but I will not tolerate using
a browser when it comes to getting info about how to build/install software.

>Over the years there has been an ongoing transfer of executive
>summaries, briefings and technical information other than for the
>implementation from the distribution documentation to the NTP project
>page, which reduces distribution bloat and makes it much easier for me
>to update in only one place. The distribution documentation is a special
>case, as dim eyesight requires me to maintain it offline with
>eye-friendly devices. These pages are intended as a definitive reference
>manual and not a greenie tutorial.


>There are two missing areas that are in some process or other of being
>addressed lately. One is a touchy-feely O'Reillyian tutorial to explain
>what ths stuff does, how to build it, how to get it going and how to fix
>what breaks. I understand a tutorial is already in the works and assume
>it will be a flat document appropriate to accompany the faq. There is a
>stunning collection of good NTP tutorials in the Sun Knowledge Base and
>elsewhere just ripe for links.

I'm not sure what you mean by the tutorial, and while I have no idea what
form it may take I suspect that Somebody will find a way to produce a flat
file if the original is in some other format.

>I see the twichy as an interactive learning tool and solutions manual,
>which can be very valuable. However, the lessons learned there should
>not stay there indefinately and should wind up in flat documents. In
>other words, the twichy should be very good at capturing and sifting
>useful lore, but should not be the exclusive path to solutions,
>interactive or not.

With volunteers anything can happen.


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