Skip to main content

RIPE 86 RIPE Community Plenary Minutes

Thursday, 25 May 2023, 16:00 (UTC+2)
Chairs: Mirjam Kühne, Niall O’Reilly
Scribe: Ulka Athale
Status: Final 

View the video archive

View the stenography transcripts

Mirjam Kühne opened the session and presented the agenda.

RIPE Chair Team Report

Mirjam Kühne

The presentation is available at:

Mirjam shared an update from the RIPE Chair team. The first RIPE Code of Conduct team, consisting of three volunteers from the community and three RIPE NCC staff, was put in place ahead of RIPE 86. All members of the team received a training ahead of the RIPE Meeting. The call for volunteers will remain open in order to build a pool of volunteers.

Mirjam also thanked the Code of Conduct Task Force for working on the RIPE Code of Conduct and the related process documents and officially closed the task force.

She also touched upon the recommendations made by the RIPE Nominations Committee (NomCom) that was responsible for the RIPE Chair selection process. Two RIPE documents, one on the RIPE Chair selection process and one on the NomCom process were updated. The document on the remuneration of the RIPE Chair also reached consensus and has been published. Lastly, she gave an update on the RIPE document concerning the participation of RIPE NCC staff in RIPE community activities.

Additionally, the RIPE Chair team is developing a training process for working group chairs or potential chairs with the RIPE NCC.

There were no questions or comments.

The 2023 Rob Blokzijl Award

Falk von Bornstaedt

The presentation is available at:

Falk introduced the Rob Blokzijl Foundation and award, established in memory of the first RIPE Chair. He announced the newly-selected members of the Rob Blokzijl Award Committee – Maria Hall, Julf Helsingius, Franziska Lichtblau, Desiree Miloshevic, Carsten Schiefner, Mike Silber and Jan Zorz – and thanked them from volunteering. The award committee will issue a call for nominations. He also invited anyone interested to consider making a donation to the foundation in honour of Rob Blokzijl.

There were no questions or comments.

The Future of Discussion Lists

Leo Vegoda

The presentation is available at:

Leo shared his thoughts on mailing lists – he’s active on many different lists. Leo said that he’s noticed responses to emails that he had not seen or messages that had not made it to the lists. Email services are increasingly being consolidated, diminishing the overall openness and transparency of the system. Although this is not uniquely RIPE problem, it is one that affects RIPE as well. He was concerned that at some point ahead discussion emails might no longer be feasible and perhaps it was time to plan ahead. It’s also important to consider people who are currently joining the community and how they would to participate in discussions.

Daniel Karrenberg said that email lists have the benefit of being easy to archive and any future system should also be decentralised and not have a single point of failure.

Leo agreed and said there was probably no immediate solution but “openness” and “transparency” were important values.

Carsten Schiefner said that he would like to see any replacement system work well asynchronously. Information can get lost on chat and Discord when you’re not in a position to react immediately. 

Brian Nisbet, Heanet, said that he looked forward to an NCC Discord or something similar. He didn’t think it was an either or choice, given how most businesses use something like Slack and email. There’s a role for each to play. He asked where the discussion would continue.

Martin Winter shared that the Open Source Working Group had a similar discussion about low levels of activity on the mailing list and many of them would rather use Discord or chat. A few other communities are also moving over to Discord and chat and see a lot more discussion than mailing lists. 

Cynthia Revström said that mailing lists can’t be replaced by chat, and that most forum software is quite similar to using mail and intimidating for some people for the same reasons. Both chat and something asynchronous are needed.

Vesna Manojlovic, RIPE NCC, said that she would like to see something based on open standards, that is decentralised and federated. Activity hub which already has a lot of applications developed could be one such solution.

Urban Suhadolnik, TU Graz, commented that one problem is the speed of communication. He spoke about other communities that sometimes receive over a hundred emails a day – with chat formats, people write their thoughts quicker and emails are more considered. So with chat-like formats, the overall volume might go up even further. Emails work really well for these situations. He added that there are platforms like Discourse that are like mailing lists, and that mailing lists are the way to go.

Janice Selten, a student at the University of Applied Sciences, Utrecht, said that Discord is useful because it’s easy to start a server and create channels to discuss topics. People can also get on voice or video calls and share their screens, making it easy to help one another. She felt that Discord was more valuable than mailing lists.

Denesh Bhabuta, UKNOF, thanked Leo for raising a pertinent question. He said that he avoids emails as far as possible. It’s important to consider the next generation – how they work and how they are likely to work in the future. While some people had pointed out differences between synchronous and asynchronous communication, even with mailing lists, sometimes the discussion goes on and on and its possible to get lost. He emphasised keeping an open mind and hearing what the new generation has to say.

Petra Zeidler commented that if any community is capable of running its own mail servers it’s this one.

Niall O’Reilly added that the root cause is that many recipients are being served by large email providers and are undermining reachability by running their own filtering. Even if you run your own mail server you lose control over the last phase of delivering the message to the recipient.

Mirjam thanked Leo for bringing up this discussion and said it will continue on the RIPE Mailing List.

NANOG Community Update

Edward McNair, NANOG Executive Director

The presentation is available at: 

Edward shared an update about NANOG’s outreach efforts including their education mentorship programmes, diversity, equity and inclusion programmes and some community updates. He addressed the discussion started by Leo, saying that NANOG is in a similar position, mailing lists, when they were adopted, were the latest in technology 40 years ago. Communities also need to grow and evolve and be more open to change.

Niall O’Reilly commented that he remembered using mailing lists 40 years ago as well and that spoke to Edward’s point. 

Edward replied that it was interesting to see similar discussions in both the NANOG and RIPE communities, both of which have aging populations. It’s important to transition and involve the next generation so that they can enjoy participating in these communities.

Sebastian Bacholet thanked Edward for sharing NANOG’s efforts towards diversity and inclusion. He said that ICANN and other parts of the Internet ecosystem could learn from this.

IANA Update

Kim Davies, VP, IANA Services and President, PTI

The presentation is available at:

Kim briefly introduced IANA and its main activities. He spoke about one of its areas of responsibility – maintaining the root zone key signing key. He described the steps taken to involve the community and how the key signing works.

Carsten Schiefner asked if IANA and PTI plan to release the reserved IPv4 space, and whether there are lots of voices asking for it, and if so, which ones are the loudest.

Kim replied that they follow instructions from the community and global policy and there is currently no global policy pushing for that allocation. There was currently no pressure and he planned to see how that discussion evolves.

Yuriy Bogdanov pointed out that according to the RFC, the reserve IPv4 allocation has been reserved for “future use” for nearly 40 years now. He asked is it “the future” according to IANA. He asked if IANA has received requests for this.

Kim replied that he follows discussions in the IETF and other communities but there is currently no proposal that seems likely to suggest that IANA will be requested to assign that address space anytime soon.

The Newcomers’ Guide to Networking: Textbooks for the Next Generation

Henrik Kramselund, Internet Samurai

The presentation is available at:

Henrik Kramselund shared a short overview of the many ways in which “newcomers” to networking can get access to resources and learn more about the field. Newcomers could be people seeking to switch jobs or students or anyone who is interested in learning more about networking. He asked for help in aggregating resources that help newcomers understand the basics better, or for tools to present real world data. He shared his contact details and GitHub repositories where he’s started adding some resources. He invited those interested to join him in this work.

Franziska Lichtblau said that she’s worked with a lot of university students. She said Henrik was doing something helpful, entry level material is useful to help point newcomers in the right direction. She added that reading RFCs is a skill that she has taught students and its important for them to read RFCs.

Henrik added that he also teaches courses at the Copenhagen School for Design and Technology just below university level. He clarified that RFCs are great resources but possibly not the first ones to present.

Edward McNair commented that one effect of networks functioning really well is that younger people take it for granted that it works. There aren’t many programmes in network engineering at the college level in the US. He would love for more students in computers to be aware of NANOG and for technical communities to be better known. He asked Henrik for suggestions on what opportunities he saw for communities like NANOG and RIPE to reach students. Were there any simplistic hooks that could be created? Should courses be created for programmers to get into network engineering? Since everything is moving towards automation, software developers are needed on the networking side of things.

Henrik replied that he’s happy to be part of DKNOG. The RIPE website and technology blogs, the Academy and certification are good resources. Different resources are needed – schools prepare people for their paths in life, and the community also has a responsibility. More people are switching careers. It might be good to have a checklist of some core concepts to refer to if you want to get into networking.

Florence Lavroff asked if Henrik was open to receiving documentation in languages other than English.

Henrik replied that he was open to it.

Branimir Rajtar, 5x9 Networks, shared that he needs to onboard new employees like recent graduates or developers who are getting into networking. He tried giving them documentation and material from the web, but that didn’t work very well. He found that giving them tasks to complete worked better, using tools like GNS 3 and Wireshark. Trying to complete a task keeps people interested.

Henrik thanked Branimir for sharing that and added that people learn in different ways – some require video, others prefer audio or reading.

Carsten Schiefner suggested copying the summer school on Internet governance to get more people interested in networking.

Marco Silinger, University of Applied Sciences, Upper Austria, said they are experimenting with teaching networking in a top-down approach. The idea behind this is to start with applications that people know and work top-down to show how this is implemented in the network.

Robert Kisteleki commented that he wondered about the shelf-life of some of the technology, for e.g., HTTP is being replaced by QUIC. It will probably get harder for people to get into the protocol space due to the growing complexity.

Henrik agreed, using email as an example. When he started working in networking, there was no SMTP yet but now there’s also DMARC, SPF, DKIM and other things added over the years. 

Alexandros Milolidakis, KTH, shared that when he started, he had to learn about OSI and what problems existed in that model. He realised that it was a design from 20 or 30 years ago. When there’s a lot of theory that’s not relevant you lose a lot of people.

Henrik replied that he still uses the OSI model along with the Internet model, to share the concept that larger complex problems can be cut into smaller pieces.

Urban Suhadolnik, a student, said he disagreed with the idea of simplifying topics, and he like getting books on networking to find topics. It is important for students to understand the layered model, and also to get hands on with RFCs even if they are ugly documents. He was drawn to networking because it’s possible to get hands-on unlike other fields that are getting more abstract. 

Dmitry Kohmanyuk asked people not to use ARP twice and network discovery zero times. He gave the example of his son who is ten and can do some pretty interesting things like installing Linux on a VM. He said that perhaps there should be a short summary of RFCs like book summaries, and the summer camps are a great idea. We should make them more accessible and hands-on. He reminded everyone to use IPv6-first.

Henrik encouraged everyone to send links and resources directly to him.

Mirjam thanked all the speakers and invited attendees to stay on for the Diversity in Tech session.