There’s a lot to take in – and this page is only a summary! So if you’re intrigued but confused and you’re not quite sure what to do next – get in touch.
And one thing is really simple – if you would like to get involved – you are exactly the sort of person we want as our newest community member!
Réseaux IP Européens (RIPE) started in 1989 when a small group of IP network operators in Europe started to share information and ideas, discuss common practices, and carry out technical coordination work. And as the Internet took off, so did we. RIPE has grown from a handful of individuals back then to a large and diverse community with almost a thousand attendees at our meetings, and with thousands more subscribed to our mailing lists.
You can probably best think of RIPE in terms of:
The “RIPE region” covers Europe, the Middle East and parts of Central Asia. However, given the global nature of the Internet, many active community members come from outside our region as well.
Getting started: The RIPE Discussion List ([email protected]) is the general mailing list for the community. A good first step is to subscribe here and start following the discussions. Look through the archives to see what has been discussed in the past.
At our meetings and on our mailing lists, you’ll find that many people already know one another, and some have been active in the community for decades. Don’t let that put you off! You’re a newcomer – not an outsider. As such, you have every right to speak up, to ask questions, share concerns, propose ideas, and so on.
Everyone was new to RIPE once. They had to find the courage to make their first comment at the microphones during a meeting or share their opinion on a mailing list for the first time. And you might be surprised at how welcoming the community can be once you stop watching from the sidelines and get involved. No matter what your background is or where you come from, you are welcome here!
RIPE is basically a collection of individuals who share an interest in IP networking. But if you stick a few hundred passionate network engineers in a room together, you might not get an optimal outcome in terms of coordination or policy development. Such a group would probably develop some basic structure and defined terms to keep their work organised.
When looking at RIPE, the community has a few different parts that help get actual coordination and policy work done:
It wasn’t long after RIPE started that we saw the need for a separate legal entity that could perform certain technical and secretariat functions for us. This led to the creation of the RIPE Network Coordination Centre (RIPE NCC) in 1992 and we’ve been working together ever since.
RIPE and the RIPE NCC are separate but highly interdependent entities. Exactly where one ends and the other begins is probably what confuses newcomers and outside observers the most.
The RIPE NCC is also the secretariat for the RIPE community. This is a support role that includes things like organising our meetings, hosting our mailing lists, publishing and archiving our RIPE Documents, supporting the RIPE Policy Development Process (PDP), and generally just helping out where it can.
The RIPE Chair ensures that the RIPE community functions well.
This is a deliberately loose description because the community might need the RIPE Chair to work on different issues as and when needed. Some common tasks that fall to the RIPE Chair are:
The RIPE Chair role is currently held by Mirjam Kühne, and she is supported by a Vice Chair, Niall O’Reilly.