both hosts in-sync w/ UTC, but not each other?

John Christian john.christian at
Fri Jun 3 08:38:17 EDT 2005

fellow sunmanagers,

A business partner transfers files to us and says our server's time is
incorrect, that we are 2-4 minutes behind UTC. They claim to sync with
official clocks via NTP multiple times every day. While this particular server
doesn't use NTP (yet) we were only 20 seconds behind.

Using the date command, I manually synced with a web-based UTC clock. All of
the web-based UTC clocks I've found appear to be in-sync with each other. My
server's time appears to be in-sync with all of those clocks, plus or minus
1/10 of a second.

They say we are still 2-4 minutes behind UTC.

I suspect the problem is...
Their custom application code that is checking the timestamps is doing so
incorrectly. (The path of this transfer includes XML, Apache, Tomcat, and
Their server is not actually in-sync with UTC.
There IS something wrong at my end and I don't know what!

BEFORE I go back to them and say "no, the problem is on your side, can I work
with your sys-admin?..." what are some other things I can check or test to
make absolutely sure the time on my server is accurate to within a second or
less? BTW: this host does not have direct Internet access.

will summarize. TIA

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