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Using ClockWatch in a Multi-platform Environment

Accurate common time is important for many networked applications. If a machine is allowed to drift even several seconds away from the common standard, then the timestamp on its files will not agree with time recorded on files written simultaneously on other machines. Time is crucial to many applications, such as data collection, FAX servers, accounting, access control, backup jobs, and real time systems. Security systems and diagnostic functions also depend on accurate time.

In a typical ClockWatch Client/Server scenario, one Windows computer is designated the timeserver. It is responsible for getting the exact time from an external timeserver and in answering time requests from clients on the LAN.  Windows workstations can run  a version of ClockWatch Client while non Windows clients run an NTP client application. All the clients get their time from ClockWatch server. More..

With the release of ClockWatch 2.0 and the support of most of the common clock synchronization protocols, running ClockWatch in a multi-platform environment became even easier. ClockWatch Server supports all of the major time sync protocols available (including NIST, Daytime, SNTP, NTP and Time [netdate]). Basically, ClockWatch Server acts as a time server for the network. Clients  running ClockWatch Client or a variety of standard time sync client applications, call on ClockWatch Server for their time.
The following is a brief summary of some of the client time sync applications available for the most common O/Ss:

Novell Netware
IBM, OS/2, OS/400
Compaq (DEC) VMS
Macintosh OS 8.5, OS X


On Windows 32- bit platform (Windows 95/98/Me/NT/2k/2003/XP/Vista/Win7/8), ClockWatch Client provides simple, quick installation and seamless integration with ClockWatch Server.

ClockWatch ServerMP will work as a central timeserver in a domain or workgroup. More...

ClockWatch Enterprise has the ability to run a time check on any Windows computer on a LAN.

ClockWatch is not compatible with Microsoft's 16-bit platforms (Windows 3.1 or DOS).

More information on the native Windows time client, the Windows Time Service


ClockWatch ServerMP can handle time requests from Linux/UNIX clients. 
ClockWatch ServerMP has been tested with Linux version 2.4.x native NTP client (RedHat 8.x).

There is support for the TrueTime TL-3 WWVB Receiver in the NTP program which can run under Linux or Unix.
Beagle Software's Time Sync Products for Linux and UNIX

Linux and Unix drivers are also available to work with Beagle Software real-time ClockCard.

UNIX and Linux, in particular, are very picky about time discrepancies, and tend to do nasty things to your processes and data if two machines disagree about the time. Here we discuss the most popular method of acquiring an accurate measurement of time:

Using the LAN to accomplish this synchronization - the de facto standard for this purpose under UNIX is something called the Network Time Protocol, or NTP. Some systems, particularly RedHat based systems, often come with ntp or xntp pre-installed. Check the documentation and man pages for more information. If you are using a Slackware-based machine, you will have a utility called netdate that will serve the same function. You can initiate netdate manually, through a script, or from a cron job. Check the man page for more details. Either system will require you to specify the ClockWatch timeservers from which accurate data can be obtained.


1) Calling netdate from crontab to synchronize with ClockWatch Server and synchronize clock at boot up:

 Crontab entry:

04 03 * * * /etc/rc.d/time.set > /dev/null

# cat /etc/rc.d/time.set
/usr/sbin/netdate -v <clockwatchserver>
/sbin/clock -w

Where <clockwatchserver> is the address of the ClockWatch Server on the network.


2) Setting netdate in directly in crontab to synchronize with ClockWatch Server

 Crontab entry:
47 2 * * * /usr/local/sbin/netdate <clockwatchserver>
48 2 * * * * /sbin/clock -w

Where <clockwatchserver> is the address of the ClockWatch Server on the network.

More on NetDate

You should install netdate on your client machines, and have them synchronize to your file server, not the atomic clock.

For some strange reason, netdate doesn't work right when getting the time from another Linux machine unless you put tcp before the address of the desired time server.

Some time programs hit the time server constantly while trying to establish the exact time. This can fool inetd into thinking that there is a problem with the service, and it cuts it off. If you see syslog entries like this then you know that this is the problem:

Mar 11 00:14:53 noisy inetd[4642]: time/udp server failing (looping), service terminated
In order to solve this problem, modify the time entry in /etc/inetd.conf:
# Time service is used for clock synchronization.
time    stream  tcp     nowait  root    /usr/sbin/tcpd  in.timed
time    dgram   udp     wait.200 root   /usr/sbin/tcpd  in.timed
The .200 tells inetd that the daemon can respawn up to 200 times in a minute before it shuts it down (the default is 40). This inetd feature is not documented on its man page, but it is mentioned in the comments at the beginning of its source code.

Another related problem is that tcpd will log each of the connects. This will very quickly fill your system log with messages that you really don't care about. In order to prevent this from happening, edit /etc/hosts.allow so that the messages are not logged, like this:

in.timed : <list of systems> : severity debug

You should perhaps turn away other machines in /etc/hosts.deny:

in.timed : ALL



ClockWatch ServerMP can handle time requests from Netware clients.

Network Time Clients
Novell client software synchronizes the clock on a client machine to the nearest ClockWatch Server. Several protocols are available to synchronize clocks on Novell Clients. 

Netware 5.x, 6.x

Netware version 5 and above includes a client (TIMESYNC.NLM) that is capable of communicating with an NTP server. The client has been included since Version 5.0 of Netware (August 1998). The NLM, timesync.nlm  is  now a core part of the OS.

Configuring NetWare to work as an NTP Client with ClockWatch Server
  1. Identify the IP address of the ClockWatch Server on the network.
  2. Open the Clients options settings tab in ClockWatch Server. Make sure the 'Listen for Clients' is enabled, the protocol on the clients tab is set to 'SNTP' and the port is set to '123'.
  3. Once you have found the IP address of the ClockWatch Server, update the client so it gets its time from the ClockWatch NTP time source. This involves changing the following SET command at the server console


where IP is the IP address of ClockWatch Server and port is the port number used to communicate with the timeserver.

For Example:


where is the address of the ClockWatch Server on the LAN and 123 indicates that the timeserver will be contacted on UDP port 123, which is the port commonly used in the NTP protocol .

As the entire network looks to the root time sources for time, this will ensure that the entire network takes time from the NTP time source. (The Entire NDS tree is then synched to NTP.)

Novell administrators can also use the MONITOR.NLM  to create IP address NTP entries.

For more information about Netware and NTP see the Novell AppNote, Using Network Time Protocol (NTP) with NetWare 5 . You can also search for NTP,  timesync.nlm at the Novell support site (ref Novell TID: 10050215)

NetWare 3.x, 4.x
Clients are available that provide a NLM which can synchronize NetWare 3.x and 4.x  servers to ClockWatch Server via LAN connection. Other time sync clients are available for SNTP and Clock/netdate (RFC868). Various NetWare time synchronization modules - both client and hosts for both workstations and servers for TCP and SPX - are available.
For NetWare version 4.2, See the Novell Document
Monitoring and Maintaining Time Synchronization

The NetWare time sync client RDATE has been simplified and is available with source as RDATE2.
A NetWare time sync *daemon* is also available.



ClockWatch ServerMP can handle time requests from OS/2 clients.

ClockWatch ServerMP. supports several time clients available for OS/2, and IBM Midframe O/Ss. Basically ClockWatch Server can handle clients on these platforms that communicate via any of the 5 most common time sync protocols (NIST, Daytime, SNTP, Time-TCP or Time-UDP). These time clients are available from a variety of sources.

On OS/2, Platform Clients are available from the following protocol which can talk with ClockWatch Server.

NTP See: NTP client for OS/2

Daytime See: daytime


Available directly from IBM for OS/400 is Clock Synchronization for Networked Computers -  SNTP
The code available for the OS/400 system provides a Simple NTP Client (SNTP Client) function, synchronizing the OS/400 system clock with the ClockWatch NTP Server. This function requires connection to the ClockWatch  NTP server on the network to serve the time to the OS/400 system.   IBM Reference #:862566B3006D86E7

There is support for the TrueTime TL-3 WWVB Receiver in the NTP program which can run on OS/400

Compaq/HP: DEC VMS

NTP clients can run on DEC Unix clients to get time from ClockWatch ServerMP.

Compressed tar archive containing a version of the ntpdate utility program for the VMS operating system.
It is available from the University of Delaware's ftp site:

There is support for the TrueTime TL-3 WWVB Receiver in the NTP program which can run on a DEC.


ClockWatch ServerMP can handle time requests from Macintosh clients.

Leopard/OS X
OS X can be set to have the date, time, and time zone set automatically by using ClockWatch Server functioning as a network time server.

Open System Preferences and click Date & Time. Click the Network Time tab and select the "Use network time server" checkbox. Choose a server from the pop-up menu or type the DNS name of the ClockWatch Server.  More...

OS 8.5
Has native NTP support via the Date and Time Control Panel.  More about time synchronization for Macintosh.

Clients are available for the Macintosh over both IP and AppleTalk.  NTP for Macintosh is based upon the Internet standard Network Time Protocol. Clients are available that support Open Transport or "classic" Macintosh TCP/IP.

There is support for the TrueTime TL-3 WWVB Receiver in the NTP program which can run on a Mac.


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Copyright 2012 Beagle Software. All rights reserved
Last reviewed April 06, 2012