[time-nuts] Possible NTP server?

Joseph Gray jgray at zianet.com
Wed May 17 23:09:27 EDT 2006

I just came into posssession of an HP JetDirect 4000 Print Server (for
free). It is a rackmount box that is 2.5"H x 12.5"D. Inside is a small
motherboard, 5GB IDE drive and a power supply. On the front is an LCD
display and a membrane-type keypad (used for setting the IP and navigating
the menu). On the back is a fan, one serial port and one ethernet port.

The motherboard has the following on it: Cyrix GXM-266GP CPU; Cyrix CX5530
chipset; PCNet-Fast ethernet chip; PC97307-ICE/VUL SuperI/O chip;
KS86P0004AD 8-bit uP (for the LCD and keypad); 64MB PC-100 SDRAM. There is
no floppy, video, 2nd serial, or other peripherals on the board (lots of
parts are missing, however).

Although the device was designed to be a print server, the hard drive is
loaded with a minimal RedHat 7.3, Samba, Apache, some HP software for the
admin web interface and some HP software to handle the LCD/keypad. The
serial port is used for a UPS (specifially APC).

My first thought is that this would be a good device to use as a dedicated
NTP server. Is anyone aware of any particular problems with the described
hardware under FreeBSD? Speaking of which, what version of FreeBSD should I
use? I am comfortable with Linux, but have no experience with FreeBSD. I did
find some good info about building a "mini" FreeBSD for use with a
CompactFlash card/adapter.

If there are any big problems with using the Cyrix CPU with FreeBSD, the CPU
is socketted. Of course, I don't know if a Pentium will be happy on a Cyrix
chipset motherboard or not. Although the BIOS is a modified Phoenix ver 4.0
(displays a boot-up self-test on the LCD and may support BOOTP), since it
boots Linux, I assume it should also handle FreeBSD.

Comments and suggestions welcome.

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