[ntp:questions] No libntp.so

Danny Mayer mayer at ntp.isc.org
Tue Sep 30 18:18:44 UTC 2008

Kay Hayen wrote:
> Hello NTP-World :-),
> we are implementing a NTP supervision for our ATC middleware. Initially we are 
> doing it by repeated "ntpq" executions and textual evaluations of the 
> results. We have had to notice that pipes are very unsuited for the task, so 
> we really fork it and close its stdin to make it flush. It works, but it is 
> unconvincing in performance (latency).
> It appears that the whole ntpq call is relatively slow when, when we do it on 
> e.g. RHEL 5.1 on modern Dual Core hardware, we get up to 25ms execution time, 
> which is very long for us.
> As we would like do other important stuff in the same process, we would like 
> to do that faster. So I had a look at the source and found that ntpq is using 
> a libntp.a that nobody seems to package though. There is no libntp.so either, 
> we had searched for those initially, but no luck.
> Our aims can be realized (and must be short term it seems) with a fork of your 
> work that builds a shared library for use in our software. While that is 
> workable, it is also bad thing to do in the first place.
> What we really would prefer instead, is to see is the addition of a target to 
> your makefile to make a libntp.so buildable. Then, we could already use the 
> original releases as from you. From there we would work with downstreams 
> (Debian and RHEL) to convince them to include libntp.so in the NTP packages 
> and (libntp.a and headers obviously) possible through some ntp-devel package, 
> at which point we could drop building from source again.
> The question of course would be: Will you merge such Makefile patches from us 
> in the first place. And do you see any reason why this should not be done 
> like this. After all, it has not been done for a long time already, so 
> possibly this is on purpose?
> Obviously we hope you will allow us to be good Free Software citizens and let 
> us drop the fork down the road. Will you?
> Thanks in advance,
> Kay Hayen

My apologies for my late response. I've been urgently dealing with some
unrelated issues elsewhere and I am now more than a month behind on my

I would strongly support this. One of the items on my list of things to
do with NTP is to clean it up and organize it better. There's a lot of
code that should be shared as far as possible that is not currently
being shared between applications.

Makefile changes are of course encouraged as long as the changes work
across a wide range of O/S's and compilers. Harlan has the final say on
this since that is one of his principal responsibilities and he has to
be able to maintain it.


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