[ntp:questions] Finding out where ntpd gets its ntp.conf file

Richard B. Gilbert rgilbert88 at comcast.net
Thu Sep 4 14:47:37 UTC 2008

Joseph Gwinn wrote:
> In article <30s4p5-as9.ln1 at gateway.py.meinberg.de>,
>  Martin Burnicki <martin.burnicki at meinberg.de> wrote:
>> Joe,
>> Joseph Gwinn wrote:
>>> In article <48bf5d9c$0$21355$c30e37c6 at pit-reader.telstra.net>,
>>>  "Peter J. Cherny" <peterc at luddite.com.au> wrote:
>>>> Joseph Gwinn wrote:
>>>>> ...
>>>>> Which brings me to a question:  How does one get NTP to tell you
>>>>> exactly where it is getting such things as the ntp.conf file from, all
>>>>> without
>>>>  >...
>>>> [peterc at tantalus ~]$ strings /usr/sbin/ntpd|grep ntp.conf
>>>> /etc/ntp.conf
>>> In the RHEL case, this would find exactly the wrong copy of ntp.conf,
>>> being the one we were changing to no avail, not the one that NTP was in
>>> fact using.
>>>> [peterc at tantalus ~]$ strace -f -o x /usr/sbin/ntpd -g
>>> I'll have to look into this.  It sounds like it might be general enough.
>>>> [root at tantalus ~]# grep ntp.conf x
>>>> 3351  open("/etc/ntp.conf", O_RDONLY)   = 4
>>> Doesn't this assume that the correct "ntp.conf" file is called ntp.conf?
>>> It may be common, the standard convention, but it is not required.
>>> The whole point is to find the correct file without making assumptions,
>>> because on a strange computer strange things may have been done.
>> I fully agree.
>> Ntpd generates a bunch of messages about what it has found in the config
>> file, at least in debug mode.
>> Maybe you should open an enhancement request on http://bugs.ntp.org to make
>> ntpd also print the name of the config file it is using, maybe only in
>> debug mode.
> I'm surprised that it doesn't already print the full filename of every 
> file it uses.
> Will debug mode do much if the binary wasn't compiled for debug?  I'm 
> trying to use the provided binary, whatever it might be, and recompiling 
> is usually far too much trouble to be practical.  Especially as the 
> effort is per platform type, and we have multiple types.
> I will file an enhancement request.  However, my feeling is that this 
> function would be most useful if added to ntpq, and yielded the full 
> filename including directories, as there may be multiple "ntp.conf" 
> files scattered about.  The key is to get NTP to tell us which file NTP 
> is using, without interference from our firmly held but sadly mistaken 
> assumptions about what NTP ought to be doing.
> Joe Gwinn

Since the source to NTPD is available, it's a SMOP to modify it to print 
out the desired file specification!

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