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

Martin Burnicki martin.burnicki at meinberg.de
Fri Sep 5 08:13:50 UTC 2008

Unruh wrote:
> Joseph Gwinn <joegwinn at comcast.net> writes:
>>In this case, none of the sysadmins (who are too busy) had any idea what
>>was going on, and they didn't know enough about NTP to realize what was
>>going on.  The sysadmin had gotten the can't-sync error message many
>>times, but didn't quite understand what it was saying.  So even if he is
>>hit by an irate truck, his replacement won't necessarily be better or
>>The problem I'm trying to solve is different.  We put NTP on lots of
>>different kinds of computer, mostly Unix, but some Windows, and I'm
>>looking for diagnosis tools that will tell me what's really going on,
>>precisely so I can debug unfamiliar setups no matter how screwed up.
> You cannot. They can screw up so badly that it is impossible to
> disentangle. For all you know they rewrote ntp to only use their server.
> The only sure way is to recompile ntpd from the original source yourself
> for each machine. They you know what the defaults are.

It's easy to find the defaults. The problem arises if someone has configured
ntpd *not* to use the defaults. 

For example, if ntpd runs in a chroot jail, even if it uses the default
configuration file the behaviour depends on whether the startup script
copies the ntp.conf file to the jail (SuSE/openSUSE Linux) or if there is
one config file at the default location and another config file below the
jail dir. 

Since ntpd would not detect (AFAIK) that it runs in a jail dir it would even
print the config file path below the jail dir, so the admin needs to check
whether ntpd runs chrooted or not to find out whether the original config
file or the config file below the jail dir has been used.

Martin Burnicki

Meinberg Funkuhren
Bad Pyrmont

More information about the questions mailing list