[ntp:questions] What exactly does "Maximum Distance Exceded" mean?

Joseph Gwinn joegwinn at comcast.net
Sun Mar 15 20:08:40 UTC 2009

In article <49BD3907.1080302 at ntp.org>, mayer at ntp.org (Danny Mayer) 

> Joseph Gwinn wrote:
> > In article <49BC631C.1060606 at ntp.org>, mayer at ntp.org (Danny Mayer) 
> > wrote:
> > 
> >> Ronan Flood wrote:
> >>> On Thu, 12 Mar 2009 23:31:11 -0500,
> >>> Joseph Gwinn <joegwinn at comcast.net> wrote:
> >>>
> >>>> NTP version 3 is running.  I've been trying to find the command to give 
> >>>> me the full version, including dot (like 3.4y), and I get answers, but 
> >>>> don't know which one to believe, and if the version given is that of the 
> >>>> NTP daemon itself, or of ntpq, or of ntpdate.
> >>> It might get logged to /var/adm/messages or somewhere when xntpd starts,
> >>> but try
> >>>
> >>>  ntpq -c "rv 0 daemon_version"
> >>>
> >> However we are not supporting ntp version 3, at least not without
> >> funding. Is there some reason why you are not running the latest version
> >> of ntpd?
> > 
> > It's what came with that old version of Solaris, the most modern Solaris 
> > that will run on the old Sun boxes in question.
> > 
> > Is NTP v4 proven to run on Solaris 9 (SunOS 5.9 Generic May 2002)?
> > 
> > The suspicion is that we have not set something up correctly, not that 
> > NTP v3 has failed, or that NTP v4 would fare better or worse.  Don't 
> > understand the comment about funding.
> > 
> Let me try and clarify my remark. NTP v3 was last released about 10
> years ago. Since then all work and experience has been done on V4 at
> least in these forums. Sun has continued to ship V3 even though it's
> rather obsolete and old. One person within Sun is trying to change that
> but in the meantime users like you are left trying to deal with issues
> with that version. Very few of us in the forum have experience with V3
> and can accurately answer questions about it. All of us have knowledge
> of V4 and what's true of V4 may very well be false for V3. Since
> everyone is a volunteer in this forum, unless they have a lot of spare
> time on their hands noone is going to look at the V3 sources and provide
> you with correct reponses for that version. Sun has support people who's
> job it is to answer such questions, but you of course pay for Sun support.
> If we had funding to do it, we would able to provide answers that you
> could rely on. Otherwise we are just guessing that things didn't change
> between V3 and V4 and there were fundamental changes between the two
> major versions.
> That was the reason for my remark.

Hmm.  OK, but I think that we've kind of run off the rails.  Let me 

1.  Sun Microsystems' current behavior is not the issue, as I'm loading 
old software from an old CD onto old computer hardware, hardware that 
cannot support a newer version of Solaris than v9.  

One of these old Solaris boxes did work with NTPv3 running an even older 
version of Solaris, with no 5914 codes, deepening the mystery.

The fact that this obsolete system can most likely support NTPv4 is 
worth investigation, though.

2.  I think that what's happening is that I'm doing something dumb, and 
I bet that there is no real difference in how NTPv3 or NTPv4 would react 
to this faux pas, whatever it turns out to be.  Nor is source code 
research needed or requested.  

3.  The original question was how to interpret a specific status code, 
9514.  I read the explanation in the documentation, but became no wiser 
for it.  Thus my question.  

If there isn't a NTP FAQ entry on this, there probably should be.  Our 
sysadmins were flummoxed by the cloud of 5914 codes, and they are far 
too busy to undertake a research project.  (The deeper problem is that 
some managers believe that NTP is plug and play, which isn't quite true.)

The various answers and questions I've gotten have been quite useful, as 
they give me a list of things to think about and investigate, things I 
might not have thought of, or soon thought of.

Joe Gwinn

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