Brussels / 31 January & 1 February 2015


Interview with Poul-Henning Kamp
Ntimed an NTPD replacement

Poul-Henning Kamp will give a talk about Ntimed an NTPD replacement at FOSDEM 2015.
Q: Could you briefly introduce yourself?

My first published FOSS program was some time in the late 1980s and I have been involved in FOSS ever since. I have been a major force in FreeBSD, where amongst many other things I renovated the timekeeping code. These days I work a lot on the Varnish HTTP accelerator and on a new family of time-synchronization programs called Ntimed.

I am also a diagnosed time-nut, having far more atomic frequency standards, GPS receivers and LORAN-C receivers than anybody would ever need.

Q: What will your talk be about, exactly?

I will talk briefly about the history of NTP and computer time-keeping, and then I will talk about the Ntimed project and how to use it.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish by giving this talk? What do you expect?

I want to make people think and enjoy themselves, not necessarily in that order. The talk will be about the history of computers and time, talking about how the challenges have changed over time and how this has affected the design of the Ntimed programs.

Q: What’s the history of the Ntimed project? Why did you start it?

Ntimed is Heartbleed fallout. the Linux Foundation funded me to work on NTPD and after some serious source- and soul-searching I reached the conclusion that there was nothing for it but a fresh start.

Q: The Network Time Foundation has agreed to adopt Ntimed. What does this mean in practice? Is Ntimed the “successor” of NTPD or will both be developed independently?

For now they continue to live in parallel, but the stated goal of Ntimed is to replace NTPD as the default time sync software.

Q: How can interested people contribute to the Ntimed project?

In order of importance: testing, porting, packaging, code review and donations to the Network Time Foundation.

S: When do you expect a full production-ready release of Ntimed? And which functionality will be implemented in this release?

The first program in the family, “ntimed-client”, which will simply steer a computer’s clock to NTP servers, is out in preview release and the first production-ready release is planned for 2015Q1.

After that a “ntimed-slave” for setting up local slave servers in a data center or company will come out some months later.

Finally the “ntimed-master”, which you can hook up GPS receivers and other time sources to, is aimed at the end of the year.

Q: Have you enjoyed previous FOSDEM editions?

Last year I gave a closing keynote about “Operation Orchestra” and I really enjoyed that.

Creative Commons License
Creative Commons License

This interview is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Belgium License.