man ntpq (Gentoo long version)

Using “man 8 ntpq” on a Gentoo system, you get the more useful ‘long’ version of the ntpq man page as shown below, as opposed to the Gentoo system man 1 ntpq ‘brief’ version. Confusingly further, it still shows “ntpq(1)”!

Much further explanation is given on “ntpq -p” output.

ntpq(1) ntpq(1)

ntpq – standard NTP query program

ntpq [-inp] [-c command ] [ host ] […]

The ntpq utility program is used to monitor NTP daemon ntpd operations
and determine performance. It uses the standard NTP mode 6 control mes‐
sage formats defined in Appendix B of the NTPv3 specification RFC1305.
The same formats are used in NTPv4, although some of the variable names
have changed and new ones added. The description on this page is for
the NTPv4 variables.

The program can be run either in interactive mode or controlled using
command line arguments. Requests to read and write arbitrary variables
can be assembled, with raw and pretty-printed output options being
available. The ntpq can also obtain and print a list of peers in a com‐
mon format by sending multiple queries to the server.

If one or more request options is included on the command line when
ntpq is executed, each of the requests will be sent to the NTP servers
running on each of the hosts given as command line arguments, or on
localhost by default. If no request options are given, ntpq will
attempt to read commands from the standard input and execute these on
the NTP server running on the first host given on the command line,
again defaulting to localhost when no other host is specified. ntpq
will prompt for commands if the standard input is a terminal device.

ntpq uses NTP mode 6 packets to communicate with the NTP server, and
hence can be used to query any compatible server on the network which
permits it. Note that since NTP is a UDP protocol this communication
will be somewhat unreliable, especially over large distances in terms
of network topology. ntpq makes one attempt to retransmit requests,
and will time requests out if the remote host is not heard from within
a suitable timeout time.

Note that in contexts where a host name is expected, a -4 qualifier
preceding the host name forces DNS resolution to the IPv4 namespace,
while a -6 qualifier forces DNS resolution to the IPv6 namespace.

For examples and usage, see the NTP Debugging Techniques page.

Command line options are described following. Specifying a command line
option other than -i or -n will cause the specified query (queries) to
be sent to the indicated host(s) immediately. Otherwise, ntpq will
attempt to read interactive format commands from the standard input.

-4 Force DNS resolution of following host names on the command line
to the IPv4 namespace.

-6 Force DNS resolution of following host names on the command line
to the IPv6 namespace.

-c The following argument is interpreted as an interactive format
command and is added to the list of commands to be executed on
the specified host(s). Multiple -c options may be given.

-d Turn on debugging mode.

-i Force ntpq to operate in interactive mode. Prompts will be writ‐
ten to the standard output and commands read from the standard

-n Output all host addresses in dotted-quad numeric format rather
than converting to the canonical host names.

-p Print a list of the peers known to the server as well as a sum‐
mary of their state. This is equivalent to the peers interactive

Interactive format commands consist of a keyword followed by zero to
four arguments. Only enough characters of the full keyword to uniquely
identify the command need be typed. The output of a command is normally
sent to the standard output, but optionally the output of individual
commands may be sent to a file by appending a > , followed by a file
name, to the command line. A number of interactive format commands are
executed entirely within the ntpq program itself and do not result in
NTP mode-6 requests being sent to a server. These are described follow‐

? [command_keyword]help [command_keyword]
A ? by itself will print a list of all the command keywords
known to ntpq . A ? followed by a command keyword will print
function and usage information about the command.

addvars name [ = value] […]rmvars name […]clearvars
The arguments to this command consist of a list of items of the
form name = value , where the = value is ignored, and can be
omitted in read requests. ntpq maintains an internal list in
which data to be included in control messages can be assembled,
and sent using the readlist and writelist commands described
below. The addvars command allows variables and optional values
to be added to the list. If more than one variable is to be
added, the list should be comma-separated and not contain white
space. The rmvars command can be used to remove individual vari‐
ables from the list, while the clearlist command removes all
variables from the list.

cooked Display server messages in prettyprint format.

debug more | less | off
Turns internal query program debugging on and off.

delay milliseconds
Specify a time interval to be added to timestamps included in
requests which require authentication. This is used to enable
(unreliable) server reconfiguration over long delay network
paths or between machines whose clocks are unsynchronized. Actu‐
ally the server does not now require timestamps in authenticated
requests, so this command may be obsolete.

host name
Set the host to which future queries will be sent. The name may
be either a DNS name or a numeric address.

hostnames [yes | no]
If yes is specified, host names are printed in information dis‐
plays. If no is specified, numeric addresses are printed
instead. The default is yes , unless modified using the command
line -n switch.

keyid keyid
This command specifies the key number to be used to authenticate
configuration requests. This must correspond to a key number the
server has been configured to use for this purpose.

ntpversion 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
Sets the NTP version number which ntpq claims in packets.
Defaults to 2, Note that mode-6 control messages (and modes, for
that matter) didn’t exist in NTP version 1.

passwd This command prompts for a password to authenticate configura‐
tion requests. The password must correspond to the key config‐
ured for NTP server for this purpose.

quit Exit ntpq .

raw Display server messages as received and without reformatting.

timeout millseconds
Specify a timeout period for responses to server queries. The
default is about 5000 milliseconds. Note that since ntpq retries
each query once after a timeout, the total waiting time for a
timeout will be twice the timeout value set.

Association IDs are used to identify system, peer and clock variables.
System variables are assigned an association ID of zero and system name
space, while each association is assigned a nonzero association ID and
peer namespace. Most control commands send a single mode-6 message to
the server and expect a single response message. The exceptions are the
peers command, which sends a series of messages, and the mreadlist and
mreadvar commands, which iterate over a range of associations.

Display a list of mobilized associations in the form

ind assid status conf reach auth condition last_event cnt

ind index on this list

assid association ID

status peer status word

conf yes : persistent, no : ephemeral

reach yes : reachable, no : unreachable

auth ok , yes , bad and none

condition selection status (see the select field of the peer
status word )

last_event event report (see the event field of the peer status
word )

cnt event count (see the count field of the peer status word )

clockvar assocID [name [ = value […]] […]cv assocID [name [ = value
[…] ][…]
Display a list of clock variables for those assocations support‐
ing a reference clock.

:config […]
Send the remainder of the command line, including whitespace, to
the server as a run-time configuration command in the same for‐
mat as the configuration file. This command is experimental
until further notice and clarification. Authentication is of
course required.

config-from-file filename
Send the each line of filename to the server as run-time config‐
uration commands in the same format as the configuration file.
This command is experimental until further notice and clarifica‐
tion. Authentication is of course required.

keyid Specify the key ID to use for write requests.

Perform the same function as the associations command, execept
display mobilized and unmobilized associations.

mreadvar assocID assocID [ variable_name [ = value[ … ]mrv assocID
assocID [ variable_name [ = value[ … ]
Perform the same function as the readvar command, except for a
range of association IDs. This range is determined from the
association list cached by the most recent associations command.

Perform the same function as the associations command , except
that it uses previously stored data rather than making a new

passwd Specify the password to use for write requests.

peers Display a list of peers in the form

[tally]remote refid st t when pool reach delay offset jitter

[tally] single-character code indicating current value of the
select field of the peer status word

remote host name (or IP number) of peer

refid association ID or kiss code

st stratum

t u : unicast, b : broadcast, l : local

when sec/min/hr since last received packet

poll poll interval (log2s)

reach reach shift register (octal)

delay roundtrip delay

offset offset

jitter jitter

readvar assocID name [ = value ] [,…]rv assocID [ name ] [,…]
Display the specified variables. If assocID is zero, the vari‐
ables are from the system variables name space, otherwise they
are from the peer variables name space. The assocID is
required, as the same name can occur in both spaces. If no name
is included, all operative variables in the name space are dis‐
played. In this case only, if the assocID is omitted, it is
assumed zero. Multiple names are specified with comma separators
and without whitespace. Note that time values are represented in
milliseconds and frequency values in parts-per-million (PPM).
Some NTP timestamps are represented in the format YYYYMMDDTTTT,
where YYYY is the year, MM the month of year, DD the day of
month and TTTT the time of day.

saveconfig filename
Write the current configuration, including any runtime modifica‐
tions given with :config or config-from-file , to the ntpd
host’s file filename . This command will be rejected by the
server unless saveconfigdir appears in the ntpd configuration
file. filename can use strftime() format specifiers to substi‐
tute the current date and time, for example, saveconfig
ntp-%Y%m%d-%H%M%S.conf . The filename used is stored in system
variable savedconfig . Authentication is required.

writevar assocID name = value [,…]
Write the specified variables. If the assocID is zero, the
variables are from the system variables name space, otherwise
they are from the peer variables name space. The assocID is
required, as the same name can occur in both spaces.

The current state of the operating program is shown in a set of status
words maintained by the system and each association separately. These
words are displayed in the rv and as commands both in hexadecimal and
decoded short tip strings. The codes, tips and short explanations are
on the Event Messages and Status Words page. The page also includes a
list of system and peer messages, the code for the latest of which is
included in the status word.

Information resulting from protocol machine state transitions is dis‐
played using an informal set of ASCII strings called kiss codes . The
original purpose was for kiss-o’-death (KoD) packets sent by the server
to advise the client of an unusual condition. They are now displayed,
when appropriate, in the reference identifier field in various bill‐

The following system variables appear in the rv billboard. Not all
variables are displayed in some configurations.

status system status word

version NTP software version and build time

processor hardware platform and version

system operating system and version

leap leap warning indicator (0-3)

stratum stratum (1-15)

precision precision (log2s)

rootdelay total roundtrip delay to the primary reference clock

rootdisp total dispersion to the primary reference clock

peer system peer association ID

tc time constant and poll exponent (log2s) (3-17)

mintc minimum time constant (log2s) (3-10)

clock date and time of day

refid reference ID or kiss code

reftime reference time

offset combined time offset

sys_jitter combined system jitter

frequency clock frequency offset (PPM)

clk_wander clock frequency wander (PPM)

clk_jitter clock jitter

tai TAI-UTC offset (s)

leapsec NTP seconds when the next leap second is/was inserted

expire NTP seconds when the NIST leapseconds file expires

The jitter and wander statistics are exponentially-weighted RMS aver‐
ages. The system jitter is defined in the NTPv4 specification; the
clock jitter statistic is computed by the clock discipline module.

When the NTPv4 daemon is compiled with the OpenSSL software library,
additional system variables are displayed, including some or all of the
following, depending on the particular Autokey dance:

host Autokey host name

group Autokey group name

flags host flags (see Autokey specification)

digest OpenSSL message digest algorithm

signature OpenSSL digest/signature scheme

update NTP seconds at last signature update

cert certificate subject, issuer and certificate flags

until NTP seconds when the certificate expires

The following system variables apear in the rv billboard for each asso‐
ciation. Not all variables are displayed in some configurations.

associd association ID

status peer status word

srcadr srcport source (remote) IP address and port

dstadr dstport destination (local) IP address and port

leap leap indicator (0-3)

stratum stratum (0-15)

precision precision (log2s)

rootdelay total roundtrip delay to the primary reference clock

rootdisp total root dispersion to the primary reference clock

refid reference ID or kiss code

reftime reference time

reach reach register (octal)

unreach unreach counter

hmode host mode (1-6)

pmode peer mode (1-5)

hpoll host poll exponent (log2s) (3-17)

ppoll peer poll exponent (log2s) (3-17)

headway headway (see Rate Management and the Kiss-o’-Death Packet)

flash flash status word

offset filter offset

delay filter delay

dispersion filter dispersion

jitter filter jitter

bias unicast/broadcast bias

xleave interleave delay (see NTP Interleaved Modes )

The bias vaqriable is calculated when the first broadcast packet is
received after the calibration volley. It represents the offset of the
broadcast subgraph relative to the unicast subgraph. The xleave vari‐
able appears only the interleaved symmetric and ingterleaved modes. It
represents the internal queueing, buffering and transmission delays for
the preceeding packet.

When the NTPv4 daemon is compiled with the OpenSSL software library,
additional peer variables are displayed, including the following:

flags peer flags (see Autokey specification)

host Autokey server name

flags peer flags (see Autokey specification)

signature OpenSSL digest/signature shceme

initsequence initial key ID

initkey initial key index

timestamp Autokey signature timestamp

The following clock variables apear in the cv billboard for each asso‐
ciation with a reference clock. Not all variables are displayed in some

associd association ID

status clock status word

device device description

timecode ASCII timecode string (specific to device)

poll poll messages sent

noreply no reply

badformat bad format

baddata bad date or time

fudgetime1 fudge time 1

fudgetime2 fudge time 2

stratum driver stratum

refid driver reference ID

flags driver flags

ntp ntp-4.2.6p3 ntpq(1)

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