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4.18 Updating the Time at Boot - BrainDump

In this conclusion to a five-part series on building a LInux wireless access point, you'll learn how to manage the details, such as DNS caches. This article is excerpted from chapter four of the Linux Networking Cookbook, written by Carla Schroder (O'Reilly; ISBN: 0596102488). Copyright © 2008 O'Reilly Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission from the publisher. Available from booksellers or direct from O'Reilly Media

  1. Managing a Linux Wireless Access Point
  2. 4.16 Managing dnsmasq’s DNS Cache
  3. 4.17 Managing Windows’ DNS Caches
  4. 4.18 Updating the Time at Boot
By: O'Reilly Media
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February 09, 2010

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You have one of those newfangled routerboards that doesn’t have a CMOS battery. BIOS settings are written to nonvolatile RAM, but the time and date are lost with every power-cycle. How do you make it set the time correctly at boot?


With good ole ntpdate. First, edit /etc/default/ntp-servers so that it points to pool.ntp.org:

  # /sbin/rw
  # nano /etc/default/ntp-servers

Then create a startup link so it will run at boot:

  # ln /etc/init.d/ntpdate

Now every time you boot up your routerboard, it will set the correct time. You can verify this with the date command:

  # date
Mon Jan 29 20:52:50 UTC 2007


If you are familiar with the NTP documentation, you’re aware that the fine NTP folks keep trying to get rid of ntpdate and replace it with the nptd -g command.
However, ntpdate still works best for large time corrections.

See Also

  • man 1 ntpdate 
  • Chapter 19, “Keeping Time with NTP,” in Linux Cookbook, by Carla Schroder (O’Reilly) 


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