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I have some Ubuntu 18.04.1 servers. They all show this service being started rougly every 10 minutes.

Jan  7 06:29:05 csrf-prod1-vm dbus-daemon[434]: [system] Activating via systemd: service name='org.freedesktop.timedate1' unit='dbus-org.freedesktop.timedate1.service' requested by ':1.12841' (uid=0 pid=25418 comm="timedatectl " label="unconfined")
Jan  7 06:29:05 csrf-prod1-vm systemd[1]: Starting Time & Date Service...
Jan  7 06:29:05 csrf-prod1-vm dbus-daemon[434]: [system] Successfully activated service 'org.freedesktop.timedate1'
Jan  7 06:29:05 csrf-prod1-vm systemd[1]: Started Time & Date Service.

Perhaps of note is I have configured timesyncd with some network-local ntp servers.

$ timedatectl status
                      Local time: Mon 2019-01-07 18:15:54 UTC
                  Universal time: Mon 2019-01-07 18:15:54 UTC
                        RTC time: Mon 2019-01-07 18:15:55
                       Time zone: Etc/UTC (UTC, +0000)
       System clock synchronized: yes
systemd-timesyncd.service active: yes
                 RTC in local TZ: no

It appears that this service just starts systemd-timedated. Is this what's used by systemd-timesyncd in order to set the time? Why does it not stay running as the suffix d[aemon] would suggest? Or is it redundant to systemd-timesyncd and should be disabled in some way?

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systemd-timesyncd is one-shot so it's more of an SNTP client rather than an NTP one. I've seen situations where it was triggered each time you get a DHCP lease and if your leases have a short period it is triggered frequently. The snippet of the log you enclosed doesn't give enough information though - that just looks like one activation and start...

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  • That's all the logs I can see (in syslog). Just that repeated every 10 min.
    – OrangeDog
    Jan 22 '19 at 19:58
  • @OrangeDog How long does your DHCP last for and how frequently is it renewed?
    – Anon
    Jan 22 '19 at 21:45
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    netplan shows a lease lifetime of 43200. The logs for systemd-networkd show a DHCP event every few days. So it's probably not that.
    – OrangeDog
    Jan 23 '19 at 10:29
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    Also, neither systemd-timesyncd nor systemd-timedated are one-shot. They are notify and simple, respectively.
    – OrangeDog
    Jan 23 '19 at 10:57
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    Doesn't the log already show what's activating dbus - uid=0 pid=25418 comm="timedatectl "? Problem is I don't know what's calling that.
    – OrangeDog
    Jan 23 '19 at 14:43
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It turns out that a configuration management system was calling timedatectl every ~10 minutes in order to check the current timezone.

This calls timedate1 over DBUS to get the answer, which only activates on incoming messages.

So entirely normal, and entirely my fault.

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  • you can accept this as the correct answer!
    – Anon
    Jul 8 at 8:02
  • @Anon I know. I wasn't very happy with myself.
    – OrangeDog
    Jul 8 at 10:23

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