[ntp:questions] 3 Questions about setting up NTP

Richard B. Gilbert rgilbert88 at comcast.net
Wed Apr 9 04:13:07 UTC 2008

Danny Mayer wrote:
> Richard B. Gilbert wrote:
>> Danny Mayer wrote:
>>> Unruh wrote:
>>>> unix2266 at charter.net (unix2266) writes:
>>>>> Folks;
>>>>> I'm setting up a new NTP server to sync time for our network. I
>>>>> have  one Linux server that needs to point to that NTP server
>>>>> My 3 questions are:
>>>>> 1. I added the IP address for the NTP server to the "/etc/hosts"
>>>>> file  on the Linux server. Is that all i need to do to make the Linux server
>>>>> point to the NTP server?
>>>> Yup. If your ntp server was in some dns server, you did not even have to do
>>>> that. 
>>> You should not be touching etc/hosts for this purpose. If you want to 
>>> use a specific IP address for a server you can do that in the ntp.conf 
>>> file. If you have a DNS server you can put it in there and specify the 
>>> FQDN on the server line but you shouldn't be messing with /etc/hosts. 
>>> That's a long obsolete file and it really should be empty under normal 
>>> circumstances.
>> /etc/hosts is a perfectly OK thing to use.  It's not the only tool for 
>> the job and in most circumstances it's not the best tool but it works!
> In this case it's not necessary and causes unnecessary maintenance 
> tasks. You can use the FQDN or the IP address of the NTP servers to use 
> so why mess with hosts files?
>> For example, I have, I think, eleven computers in the house.  I'll be 
>> damned if I'll take off my shoes just to count the computers! I have an 
>> RFC-1918 private network.  I have not gone to the trouble of setting up 
>> a DNS server for my home.  Those of my computers that need to talk to 
>> the others have hosts files!  All have DNS resolvers and use my ISP's 
>> DNS servers in the usual manner in order to talk to the outside world.
> Setting up DNS doesn't take much effort to set up though admittedly I 
> also have worked on the source code.

Setting up a DNS server on VMS and TCP/IP Services  was an experience 
I'll carry to my grave.  We had been using the server operated by our 
upstream provider until they decided that the load was more than they 
could handle.

This was ca. September 1998.  I had no training or experience but 
neither did anyone else at the site and I got stuck with the job!

The documentation didn't say much about it and most of what it did say 
was either incomplete or just flat out wrong!  It was obviously written 
by someone who had never done the job.

The software, as issued, was broken. I wound up upgrading to the very 
latest version of VMS plus the very latest ECO (13) for TCP/IP Services. 
  I spent a lot of time on the phone with third level tech support, a 
wizard named Smiley Smith and, ultimately, with the developer.

I had to do it again, a year or so later and it was none too easy the 
second time around either!  Copies of "DNS and BIND" and RFCs 1032, 
1033, 1034, 1035, and 1183 were my constant companions.  I still have 
the big three-ring binder with all that stuff in it.  Who knows, I might 
need it again someday although I hope not unless someone is sufficiently 
desperate to pay two or three times my usual rates!

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