[ntp:questions] Befuddled and confused, again...

David Lord snews at lordynet.org
Sun Feb 14 20:49:15 UTC 2010

Dave Baxter wrote:
> In article <_6ednYXJW52xiOXWnZ2dnUVZ_u2dnZ2d at supernews.com>, 
> lausts at acm.org says...
>> On 2010-02-14, Dave Baxter <spam at goes.nowhere.com> wrote:
>>> Hi All.
>>> Been trying (again) to setup a FreeBSD GPSDNTP server, as I want to use 
>>> the currently used Win2k (With the Meinberg binary etc) box for 
>>> something else, having found that running anything else "significant" on 
>>> it, "distrubes" the NTPD system somewhat.  Nothing wrong with the 
>>> Meinberg system (far from it in fact) it's just that I need that machine 
>>> to replace an older PC that has finaly expired, so as I have another 
>>> with no OS on it, I thought I'd go the FreeBSD route this time.
>> A good move!
>> Trimmed things a bit...
> Hi Tom.
> All that I'm trying now, I have done successfully before, but for 
> whatever reason it doesnt want to fly now.  Not sure if my notes are 
> bad, DT's website, or the F-BSD docs are different now.
> I *Need* PPS support, as I have an app that needs mS accruacy.  See:-
> http://www.dxatlas.com/Faros/  for details of what I have running, that 
> needs such data.   Plus, for whatever reason, my ISP (Demon/Thus/C&W) 
> seem unable to provide a stable NTP service these days.
> I have at present, a seperate Win2k machine, running the Meinberg port 
> of NTPD and Dave Hart's serialPPS hack.  It works very well, even 
> surviving Windows updates and a reboots etc!
> Trouble is, I want that physical PC for something else, and as I had a 
> "spare and empty" PC, I decided to revisit the FreeBSD version, after 
> all, it only took me 2 days last time to get it going.
> I've been at it (trying to get FreeBSD working again) this time for over 
> 3 weeks!  And am about to lob the thing out of the window.
> I find that there is just way too much documentation spread all over the 
> web etc, all poorly indexed (as a noob sees it at least.)  There also 
> seems to be an assumption, that anyone looking at the info, already 
> knows what they are looking at.  (This is not alone in that respect of 
> course.)
> One huge dificulty I have, is that I do not know how to get it to 
> remember the "prompt =" settings, or that I use a UK keyboard!  I have 
> to change those settings each and every boot at the moment.
> I hear what you are saying re using a later version, but as I have the 
> install CD's here for this, and it's purely for a local never-to-be-on-
> the-web server, on a relatively low powered machine, unless someone says 
> otherwise, and as I had it working before, I'd prefer at this time to 
> stick with what I have.
> Oh, you still didn't indicate the exact full path to the 'make.conf' 
> file.  I know it's in /etc, but what directory should that spawn from?  
> I don't have notes showing I had to create that file, only that I edited 
> what was already there last time. (failing to make a record as to it's 
> exact location I admit!)
> As to the FreeBDS lists/forums etc.  Out of the 100's that there are, 
> which one is recomended?  I've been on one or two recently, finding them 
> somewhat "unfriendly to newbies".  Also, like many Linux lists, most 
> people there don't know anything about what I'm asking, or want to do.  
> On this list, being timekeeping related, some do, strangley.

I still have a couple of systems with FreeBSD 5.x installed,
but not touched either for a few years. As others have
suggested, a more recent version would be a much better choice
for ntpd.

Do you need "gpsd" for the position information it provides?
I've tried "gpsd" on NetBSD with SHM (type 28) refclock driver
but without using PPS and accuracy was not very good, nowhere
near the <2ms that I see from remote servers whilst I have a
good internet connection. GPS + PPS mostly gives < 10us but
receiver doesn't have good enough view of sky so loses sync
about once a day with offset hitting 10-15ms over last couple
of days, with just 2 of last 7 days continuously below 70us,
mean/rms/max(us) of -2/19/66 and 3/31/66.


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