[time] ¿habla español? / server quality monitoring / DNS round robin and Sun's nscd

Adrian 'Dagurashibanipal' von Bidder avbidder
Mon Nov 3 22:26:47 UTC 2003

Hi again!

I've been working on my maintenance scripts, and others have helped the 
pool.ntp.org project, too. So I'm really a happy man! Current server count is 
98, so I guess we can put the Champagne in the fridge :-)

Topics covered:
 - A new translation
 - Timeserver monitoring
 - Sun's nscd
 - maxpoll 12

?habla espa?ol?

No, I don't speak spanish (and therefore I expect there'll be a stupid 
grammar/spelling error in this title). But Xisco Llad? does and so there is 
now a spanish translation of the www.pool.ntp.org web site at


Thanks a lot!

Timeserver Quality Assessment

After a discussion on the timekeepers mailing list about the quality of some 
of the nameservers, I set to work out a scoring system so that bad 
nameservers would be taken out of the nameserver zones. It's not perfect, 
yet, but it does get unreachable (or falseticking) nameservers removed quite 
quickly. It is a bit slower to add them again - and I think this is a good 
thing, too.

I already summarized how the system works in another email, so please see 
there for more information:

In addition, a new mailing list has been created: 
timekeepers-bulletin at fortytwo.ch. It carries a daily summary of the servers 
that are *not* carried in the pool.ntp.org zone files.

Sun's nscd

In the last newsletter, I recommended that people should not use the 
nameserver caching daemon (nscd) on Sun Solaris as it doesn't do round-robin 
on nameserver entries.  Richard S. Shuford of Sun kindly pointed out that 
this sledgehammer method is not necessary:

|Sun does not recommend the brute force of killing the nscd daemon.
|The supported solution is to configure it to not cache hostnames.
|In the file /etc/nscd.conf, uncomment the line
|#       enable-cache            hosts           no
|optionally (if IPv6), add
|        enable-cache            ipnodes         no
|See "man -s 4 nscd.conf".

I'm only guessing here - other Unixy systems may have the same problem, and 
perhaps even the same solution.

maxpoll 12

A small note at the end: Some may have noticed that I used to recommend the 
use of 'maxpoll 12' in the configuration file for users of ntpd.conf.  There 
was some discussion of this in the comp.protocols.time.ntp newsgroup, with 
David Mills arguing that the algorithms in ntpd were designed to work best 
with maxpoll value of ten.  If you're interested, you can of course read the 
original thread on google:

greetings from Switzerland
-- vbi

SHOP OR DIE, people of Earth!
[offer void where prohibited]
-- Capitalists from outer space, from Justice League Int'l comics
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