On my Red Hat 5.3 Linux machine, NTP isn’t installed (can't install it for some reasons).

However I can copy the binary /usr/sbin/ntpdate from another Linux machine to mine.

If I only get the file ntpdate and put it on my Linux machine under /tmp, is it possible to run

     /tmp/ntpdate -u

in order to update my date? would be my Linux machine.

  • Are you running RH 5.3? Or RHEL 5.3? Big difference.
    – MikeyB
    Nov 18, 2011 at 14:44
  • If it's a client's computer and the date/time is wrong, it's their problem, they should fix it. If you're not allowed to make changes to have it set the correct time automatically then it's really not your problem and shouldn't even be trying to correct it.
    – Chris S
    Nov 18, 2011 at 15:09

4 Answers 4


You can set the time manually on the server if you need using the date command. You can also download the ntp RPM package from the web or via yum. Copying binaries in this case is a bit of a kludgy hack. It's not a good practice.

However, you have not explained why you cannot install the ntp package on your server. If this is consistent with your other questions here, you are not given permission to make changes. If that's the case, this is not really a sysadmin problem.

  • I cant install NTP pkg - this isnt my linux machine , the sys belong to customor and we cant perfrom any install steps , why evry here cant answer on this?
    – Diana
    Nov 18, 2011 at 13:23
  • If it's not your system, then you can't really install packages. Set the date/time manually using the date command. date MMDDhhmm[[CC]YY][.ss]
    – ewwhite
    Nov 18, 2011 at 13:37
  • A) ewwhite is right in using date to just set the date, B) if you can't install things on the server, doesn't that mean you don't have root access and may be limited anyway in what you can do? Nov 18, 2011 at 15:07
  • In doing a quick test, ntpdate doesn't work as non-root since it can't bind to the port necessary. If you can't install things, I'm assuming you don't have root, so how would you run the date change? Nov 18, 2011 at 15:16

Usually, copying the binary file is not a good idea unless it is a portable and standalone binary. Binaries usually depend on several other binaries/libraries to be available such as shared objects in Linux and dll in Windows.

Also, the platform differences can prevent running the same binary.

Anyway, you can try to copy the binary and see if it will work or not. Maybe, copying it to your home dir is better than copying it to '/tmp'. Some secured systems may prohibit files execution from /tmp partition.

  • the resont to copy the file to /tmp is because I need to update the date only one time
    – Diana
    Nov 18, 2011 at 12:39
  • If /tmp doesn't allow execution of binaries, it doesn't really matter how many times you want to run it. It wouldn't work. Users are often limited to things in their own home directory when working on projects and such. Nov 18, 2011 at 15:06

What are the reasons that ntpdate (and its associated tools, rc scripts, etc.) can't be installed? Maybe it can be workaround somehow.

If you can copy the binary to /tmp filesystem, it will be probably deleted everytime the system boots. You could write simple rc script, which would copy ntpdate binary to /tmp and run that. But it seems really awkward.

  • the resont to copy the file to /tmp is because I need to update the date only one time
    – Diana
    Nov 18, 2011 at 12:39
  • 1
    ntpdate is part of ntp package. If you can't install that package, you may try to compile it yourself. Nov 18, 2011 at 12:54
  • why you vote (-1)?
    – Diana
    Nov 18, 2011 at 12:58
  • 1
    @Diana That was not me, who voted (-1), as my reputation in this forum is 1 and for downvote you need at least 125. Nov 18, 2011 at 13:29

You can check what dependencies a binary has using ldd

ldd /usr/sbin/ntpdate
    linux-vdso.so.1 =>  (0x00007fff1aed8000)
    libcap.so.1 => /lib64/libcap.so.1 (0x00002acf97303000)
    libc.so.6 => /lib64/libc.so.6 (0x00002acf97507000)
    /lib64/ld-linux-x86-64.so.2 (0x00002acf970e5000)

So if you have the required libraries then it should work. You could of course copy the libraries from another machine if they don't exist on yours (they likely do though).

Far simpler would be to use the date command like so

sudo date 111814282011.00

Which will set the date to the time provided 18th Novenmber 2011 14:22.00

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