[ntp:questions] phantom server with MacOSX

ntpquestions at rfc1035.com ntpquestions at rfc1035.com
Tue Aug 17 11:32:34 UTC 2010

I've stumbled on a weird problem with NTP 4.2.6 on MacOSX. I compiled
and installed the code myself. The box is not running whatever NTP code
is shipped with the OS. All is well (sort of). The server is chiming
away quite happily.

However it's peering with an Apple NTP server that I didn't configure.
Can anyone suggest what's caused that or how to fix it? This phantom NTP
server persists across restarts of ntpd and reboots, even though it's
not listed in /etc/ntp.conf. I have no idea where it's picking up the
name of this server from => how to get rid of it.

Although this is no big deal, I am puzzled and a bit annoyed that Apple
appear to be stamping over my NTP setup and not explaining how or why
they do that. It's the thin edge of the wedge. If His Steveness doesn't
like my NTP configuration, what else might he take exception to?

My guess is there's something buried deep in Apple's DirectoryServer.
But even if there is some secret NTP stuff there, I don't understand how
it's getting picked up by my own instance of ntpd. Unless perhaps it's
using one of Apple's shared libraries which pulls in the DirectoryServer
stuff by default.

Any suggestions?

Here's what's in /etc/ntp.conf

#	Clocks for {gromit,wallace}.rfc1035.com
server	shaun.rfc1035.com			#
server	hutch.rfc1035.com			#
server	uchiawase.rfc1035.com			#

And here's what ntpq is reporting for my ntp server:

gromit% ntpq
ntpq> peers
     remote           refid      st t when poll reach   delay   offset jitter
-time6.apple.com      2 u   91  128  377  231.236  -15.714 1.668
+shaun.rfc1035.c    2 u  103  128  377   52.237   -7.862 1.401
+hutch.rfc1035.c    2 u   12  128  377    0.104   -7.524 1.367
*uchiawase.6uk.o     2 u    7  128  377   53.420   -3.990 2.236
 LOCAL(0)        .LOCL.           6 l 1733   64    0    0.000    0.000 0.000

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