[time-nuts] Best OS for small time server

Matthew Smith matt at smiffytech.com
Thu Feb 21 17:36:00 EST 2008

Quoth Jason Rabel at 2008-02-21 14:14...
> FreeBSD will support a PPS signal natively. If you have a hard drive you
> could just run a plain install, if you want to run off a CompactFlash module
> then I would suggest building a NanoBSD image. It took me a few tries to get
> it right but I'm very happy with the performance.

I was going to use an old laptop disc for this as I have absolutely no
experience with 'small' Un*x implementations - like what happens to
/swap, etc.  However, I would prefer a system that uses as little power
as possible and has no moving parts, so should probably investigate the
CompactFlash option - I'll Google for NanoBSD.

Just had a quick look on eBay - seems like I can get a CF to 44 pin
laptop IDE adapter for $AUD 12 delivered and a 1Gb CF card for $AUD 30
delivered (I'm assuming that 1Gb should be more than adequate for a
system like this).  So, not expensive, probably worth a go.

> ntpns currently only supports the Oncore & dcf77 receivers, so its not for
> everyone. I have it running on my net4501 w/Oncore UT+ and it has been
> happily humming away.
I've got a couple of Oncores in my desk somewhere, but they are just the
GT model.  I think that the Trimble ACE II has better PPS accuracy than
these, although I'd have to check.

> Besides a "time server" what other features are you looking for?

If you mean what else do I want this box to do, haven't really decided.
 As I have the components kicking around, I thought that it would be
nice to run my own Stratum I time server, rather than having to rely on
the local Stratum II pool (may keep this for sanity checking though).

As our power is not all that reliable here (on the end of a LONG Single
Wire, Earth Return 19kV line), I wanted something that could run off a
trickle-charged sealed lead acid battery, rather than further burdening
my main UPS - which only runs for an hour anyway.

I have been giving some thought to having an external USB hard disc on
the thing for my server backups.  Currently, I have a Sun Blade 100
doing this job - uses a bit more power than is really necessary. (And
adds to the heat problem in my office in the cruel South Australian
Summer.  But keeps it nice and warm in Winter.)

I've thought of building some radio-controlled (434MHz Aussie ISM band)
slave clocks, but don't know if I'll use this as the master, or use a
separate receiver.  More on that another time - I have some ideas for
some rather 'different' clocks that I'd like to build.



Matthew Smith
Smiffytech - Technology Consulting & Web Application Development
Business: http://www.smiffytech.com/
Personal: http://www.smiffysplace.com/
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