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

Danny Mayer mayer at ntp.org
Mon Mar 16 02:47:49 UTC 2009

Joseph Gwinn wrote:
> Hmm.  OK, but I think that we've kind of run off the rails.  Let me 
> summarize:  
> 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 trouble here is that those codes are *very likely* likely to have
changed between V3 and V4 since there was a large rewrite between the
two. That's why looking at the source code is necessary to get you the
help you need.

> 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.  

Which is why you need to look at the source code. Documentation isn't
always clear or definitive but the source code will tell you.

> 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.)

Mostly it is, but there are always mysteries like this.


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