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Is there a user-mode command that will tell how inaccurate my system clock is according to NTP servers?

There's the ntpdate command, but the man page doesn't say what the numbers mean. What are offset and delay? Is it relative to system time? What are the units?

$ ntpdate -q 3.us.pool.ntp.org
server 173.244.211.10, stratum 2, offset 2678403.508474, delay 0.04489
server 69.50.219.51, stratum 2, offset 2678403.506414, delay 0.04755
server 50.97.210.169, stratum 2, offset 2678403.504741, delay 0.02769
23 Jan 16:41:17 ntpdate[15894]: step time server 50.97.210.169 offset 2678403.504741 sec

Then there's the ntpd command, which claims to replace ntpdate. Is there any way to run it as non-root and print out how accurate my system clock is?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Your clock seems to be almost exactly 31 days wrong. 2,678,403.508474 seconds/ 86,400 seconds = 31.0000406 days.

What is offset

The time difference

what is delay?

The time it took to get an answer from the server. Latency must be considered in the accuracy calculations.

What are the units?

Seconds.

Then there's the ntpd command, which claims to replace ntpdate. Is there any way to run it as non-root and print out how accurate my system clock is?

Only root can change the clock. You won't be able to install ntp without being root, but once it is installed you can get the NTP status easily with the ntpq -p command as an un-privileged user.

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The offset field tells you how many seconds your clock is ahead or behind the clock of the NTP server you are querying. Positive values mean your clock is in the past relative to the NTP server, negative values mean your clock is in the future.

The delay field gives the round-trip time from your host to the NTP server, again in seconds.

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