[ntp:questions] Strange refid

Brian Utterback brian.utterback at oracle.com
Tue Nov 12 15:40:53 UTC 2013

On 11/11/13 01:35, A C wrote:
> Anyone care to explain what this refid means?  This is from the
> billboard on one of my machines.  This came from the round-robin DNS
> pool but I couldn't tell you which round-robin provided it other than
> one of the North America or US pools.
>>  .M-F.\..          16 u   86  512  376   58.947  -201.11 138.426

I just looked at the code for printing the refid and if it decides that 
the refid is not an address and that it should print it in ascii, the 
routine "makeascii" is called to do the conversion. Oddly enough, if the 
character is has the high order bit turned on, it prints "M-" and then 
the character with the high order bit masked off. So, if the refid was and it decided to run it through makeascii anyway, it would 
print as .M-F.\..

Now, while it looks like a valid IP address, it doesn't seem to be one 
of the servers that is currently using (maybe 
previously?) nor does it explain why an IP address got printed as ASCII, 
but it does explain how we got 6 characters out of 4 bytes.

However, it begs the question of why somebody thought that printing "M-" 
before characters with the high order bit turned on would be a good idea.


Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your code will be a
violent psychopath who knows where you live. - Martin Golding
Brian Utterback - Solaris RPE, Oracle Corporation.
Ph:603-262-3916, Em:brian.utterback at oracle.com

More information about the questions mailing list