[ntp:questions] "ntpd -q" is slow compared to ntpdate

Steve Kostecke kostecke at ntp.org
Thu Oct 16 19:20:13 UTC 2008

On 2008-10-15, Mohit Aron <extproxy at gmail.com> wrote:
> Good question. I'd much rather just keep using ntpdate. The ntpd man page is
> obviously wrong when it suggests that 'ntpd -q' mimics the behavior of
> ntpdate - it doesn't - 'ntpd  -q' is dog slow.

In your experience.

> Very interestingly, 'sntp' is distributed in the ntp emerge package
> on Gentoo. However, on Ubuntu, the ntp deb package does not include
> sntp. In fact, it doesn't seem like sntp even exists in any package in
> Ubuntu.

sntp first appeared in the NTP Reference Implementation Stable Release
at version 4.2.2

The current NTP Stable Release is 4.2.4p5. It is possible that Unbuntu
ships an older version. Debian stable, for instance, ships 4.2.2p4.

> I did find the deb package 'msntp' on Ubuntu, which has the binary
> 'msntp' which seems to perform exactly like the 'sntp' binary on
> Gentoo.

MSNTP an independent implementation of sntp by Nick Maclaren at the
University of Cambridge. It is aparently licensed under the GPL. Here is
the description for the Debian msntp package:

Description: A very simple and portable SNTP client/server

MSNTP is intended to be a straightforward SNTP (Simple Network Time
Protocol) daemon/utility that is easy to build on any reasonable
Unix platform (and most near-Unix ones), whether or not it has ever
been ported to them before. It is intended to answer the following
requirements, either by challenge and response or the less reliable
broadcast method:

A simple command to run on Unix systems that will check the time and
optionally drift compared with a known, local and reliable NTP time
server. No privilege is required just to read the time and estimate the

A client for Unix systems that will synchronise the time from a known,
local and reliable NTP time server.

A server for Unix systems that are synchronised other than by NTP
methods and that need to synchronise other systems by NTP. It is NOT
intended to work as a peer with true NTP servers, and won't.

Homepage: http://www.hpcf.cam.ac.uk/export/

Steve Kostecke <kostecke at ntp.org>
NTP Public Services Project - http://support.ntp.org/

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