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[questions] Re: NTP community feels broken
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- Subject: [questions] Re: NTP community feels broken
- From: David Woolley <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2022 12:17:13 +0100
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On 17/06/2022 00:30, chris wrote:
lack of full disclosure, documented
I'm having trouble understanding what this means. If you mean that the
documentation is poor, that is a common problem with open source
software, as it relies on volunteer effort, and programmers don't like
Actually, in terms of end user documentation, I find most technology
poor. Businesses tend to document the small number of marketing claims,
in marketing language, and don't provide detailed functional descriptions.
For software, the only really good documentation is often the test plan,
but that is considered highly confidential for commercial software.
Open source coders are less likely to write formal test suites.
The original author of ntpd saw it as a maths problem, and was
frustrated by the inability of the RFC system to cope with mathematical
notation. The primary documentation, the version 4 RFC, is written as a
maths paper, but with the Greek letters spelled out.
ntpd will have been documented to the same sort of detail as an
experimental rig in an academic paper. The main detail would have gone
into the particualr property of the core algorithm that the paper was
trying to investigate.
It may also be significant that its primary developer is now 84.
Although I say lack of documentation is a problem for all technology,
what I sometimes find out with hardware is that it is all based on a
small number of special purpose ICs, and if you can establish what is
being used you can get a long way towards a real specification, rather
than the half page marketing hype on Amazon, by looking at the 100 page
data sheet for the ICs. Semiconductors seem to be an area where
detailed end user documentation is still available in the public domain.
It is common for the consumer products to be more or less direct
implementations of the typical application circuits, from the IC data
sheet. This doesn't work so well with software, as every user can end
up customising its use to a level that only the final manufacturer would
do for hardware, and they are more prepared to do so than the people who
sell products on Amazon.
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