FINAL Draft minutes of the 8th TERENA General Assembly meeting, 23/24 October 1998, Madrid.

GA(97)056, part 1
Centro de Quimica Organica Lora Tamayo, Madrid, Spain
23 October 1997 14:00 - 18:30
24 October 1997 09:00 - 12:30



1. Welcome and Apologies
The list of participants is annexed to these minutes. The following members were represented by written proxy:
* Mr. Predrag Vidas represented CARNet, Croatia;
* Mr. Ralf Paffrath represented DFN, Germany;
* Mr. Theodoros Karounos represented GR-NET, Greece;
* Prof. Valentin Plesu represented RNC, Romania (24 October)

Apologies were received from: CESNET, Czech Republic; IPM, Iran; UNINETT, Norway; FCCN, Portugal.

The number of votes represented (out of the total of 126 votes) was 82 at the start of the meeting, 91 after agenda item 4 (b) and 94 on Friday 24 October.


2. Approval of Agenda
The GA approved the agenda for the 8th TERENA General Assembly meeting, GA(97)028.


3. Minutes and Actions list of previous meeting
3(a) Minutes of the 7th TERENA General Assembly meeting, Edinburgh
D08-01 The General Assembly approved the minutes - file ref. GA(97)021 - of the 7th TERENA General Assembly meeting, Edinburgh, 15 and 16 May 1997, without change.

3(b) GA Action list update
The GA noted the status of the actions outstanding, GA(97)030. There were no further updates to the list of actions.


4. Membership matters
4(a) Changes in membership
Prof. Vasily Strazhev, Minister of Education and Science of the Republic Belarus, had nominated the Computer and Analytical Centre of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic Belarus as the new TERENA National Member for Belarus, replacing UNIBEL - file ref. GA(97)040.

The Secretariat also received the official application from the Computer and Analytical Center of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic Belarus, nominating Nikolay Listopad as the TERENA GA representative and Sergei Kritsky as the substitute representative - file ref. GA(97)041. In this letter the Computer and Analytical Centre agrees to pay the TERENA membership fees and also to take over the outstanding membership debts for 1995 and 1996 from UNIBEL.

D08-02 The GA, considering that the Computer and Analytical Centre is the proper representative organisation and takes responsibility for UNIBEL's outstanding membership fees, admitted the Centre as the National Member for Belarus, replacing UNIBEL (75 votes in favour, 7 abstaining and 0 against).
4(b) Changes in representative
The GA noted the following changes of TERENA members' representatives.
* John Dyer had replaced David Hartley as representative of UKERNA, UK;
* Walter Zwieflhofer had replaced Geerd Hoffmann as representative of ECMWF;
* Jan Torreele was appointed substitute representative of OSTC/BELNET, Belgium;
* Niels E. Raun was appointed substitute representative of UNI-C, Denmark;
* István Tétényi was appointed substitute representative of HUNGARNET, Hungary.
* Denise Heagerty was appointed substitute representative of CERN.
4(c) Outstanding membership fees
The list of fees outstanding as per 30 September 1997 - file ref. GA(97)044 - was discussed.

The General Assembly noted that the total amount of outstanding membership fees was almost 180,000 ECU, the size of which forms a serious threat to the financial situation of TERENA.

Karel Vietsch presented an overview of the outstanding debts and the results from contacts with these members. The main debtor is Russia. The fees are outstanding since 1995. In 1996 RFBR replaced UNICOR as the representative organisation. RFBR has not responded to reminders concerning the outstanding membership fees.

The substitute GA representative of RNC, Romania, sent a fax message to the GA meeting stating that Romania is actively taking steps to pay the outstanding fees.

The Academy of Sciences of the Ukraine had expected to be able to pay in 1997, after a very difficult financial year in 1996. However, the Secretariat had received no indication of payment.

The representative of FRCU, Egypt, when approached, had promised to pay its outstanding membership fee soon.

The representatives of Belarus had indicated that their problem of outstanding fees would be resolved with the change of membership organization, as agreed under agenda item 4(a).

There has been an email exchange with the representative of the Georgian Academy of Sciences. The situation in Georgia seemed very difficult, and even while the TERENA member was actively looking for solutions of the problem, there was no guarantee that the outstanding fees would be paid.

There had been no reply from JINR, from which no payment had been received since 1994.

Likewise there had been no response from the Centre for Informatics, the National Member for Moldova.

The National members of Azerbaijan and FYRoMacedonia had recently paid the 1996 membership fee, with the 1997 fee left outstanding.

UNICOM-B, Bulgaria, had a difficult financial year and had paid half of the membership fee for 1997.

Both the President and the Secretariat had been in touch with INIMA, Albania, which has financial problems and may not be able to pay.

ESA had promised to pay its outstanding 1995 fee, but has not done so thus far.

One of the agenda items in May 1998 will be the possible termination of membership of TERENA members who have not paid their membership fees since 1994. It was recognised that many of the fees outstanding are from countries in Eastern Europe, who are often dependent on outside funding bodies for their membership fees. The TERENA Executive will try and assist in securing these fees. J-P Euzen of the EC promised to raise this issue as well.

ACTION
A08-01 TERENA Executive to try and assist Eastern European countries in securing TERENA membership fees.


5. Executive Committee Elections
VP Conferences
Shortly after the GA meeting in Edinburgh, Wulf Bauerfeld resigned as TERENA Vice President for Conferences. To bridge the gap until the next GA meeting, the Executive Committee co-opted Michael Walsh of HEAnet, Ireland, as TERENA VP for Conferences in July.

Subsequently Michael Walsh was formally nominated as TERENA VP Conferences by Stefano Trumpy, CNUCE, Italy, Kees Neggers, SURFnet, the Netherlands and Lajos Bálint, HUNGARNET, Hungary; and Michael has accepted this nomination.

D08-03 The General Assembly appointed Michael Walsh TERENA Vice President Conferences by acclamation, for a period of two years.


6. Technical Programme
Brian Gilmore made a presentation covering agenda item 6(a), 6(b), and 6(c).
6(a) TTC report
The last TTC meeting took place on 9 October 1997.
The replacement of the CTO, now John Dyer had returned to UKERNA, after working as TERENA Chief Technical Officer (on secondment) for 15 months, was discussed. There are a few candidates for the position and meanwhile John Martin is acting CTO. Most of the meeting was devoted to the selection of new pilot projects (see agenda item 6(b)).
6(b) Projects and Task Forces - progress report
In the budget for the Technical Programme for 1997, 100 k ECU was set aside as seed money to start pilot projects. As it took longer than expected to get good proposals in, currently only 51 k ECU had been awarded to proposals for pilot projects. Some 30 k ECU had been set aside for proposals that need further clarification and the remainder will be held over to 1998. In view of TERENAšs financial situation, the TTC intends to spend 100 k ECU over two years, instead of the originally foreseen 150 k ECU.

The following proposals were approved during the TTC meeting:
* Evaluation of User Support Toolkit @ 14 k ECU
Production of a questionnaire to determine User Support Needs; evaluation of products and tools and making recommendations on their use to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of on-line user support.

* Internet Streaming Media @ 8 k ECU
Aims to make recommendations on what tools and infrastructure to use for Internet Streaming Media

* Network monitoring for Cache Servers @ 8 k ECU
Package a network monitoring kit to monitor cache server performance.

* Cache server "appliance" Project @ 4 k ECU
Provision of a CD-ROM master of a package configuration of Linux and cache software, intended for non-UNIX experts to assist them in setting up caches.

* Investigation into cache routing @ 2.7 k ECU
Examination of the routing between cache servers and determination of optimal caches along a unicast route between source and destination.

* Multicast based voting system @ 1.4 k ECU
Provision of direction and basis for a voting scheme; determine authentication methodology; rules for voting sessions and presentation of results.

* Hierarchical Web indexing pilot @ 13 k ECU
Demonstration of a distributed approach to indexing and searching in European academic Web space; building on the indexes already created by various parties in TERENA member countries.

The TTC asked for the following project proposals to be resubmitted providing clarification on some specific aspects:
* IP Videoconferencing tools and documentation CD-ROM
* Traffic reduction using VSAT Antennas

Update on existing Projects:
- The SIRCE (Co-ordination of Incident Response Teams) project had been running since May 1997 and the first Quarterly report had been produced. A SIRCE CC meeting was planned for 24 October and another one for late November. Current Contributors were: RedIRIS (Spain), UKERNA (UK), CNUCE-GARR (Italy), SWITCH (Switzerland), SURFnet (the Netherlands), NORDUnet, UNINETT (Norway), ARNES (Slovenia), DFN (Germany) and ACOnet (Austria) and more contributors were being sought.

- DEVICE (Desktop Video Conferencing)
The testing of the ISDN videoconferencing products had been completed and the report was in preparation. A second phase proposal was being prepared, aiming at testing H.323 VC products over IP networks.

- TF-CACHE (Co-operative Hierarchical Object Caching) had concentrated its work on reducing the load on the TransAtlantic lines by way of peering between top national caching services.

- TF-ETM (European Traffic Measurements) had had a meeting at the IETF in August. Many new people had joined but progress had been limited. A questionnaire was being prepared.

- GNRT (Guide to Network Resource Tools) Phase 2 had been completed and the result was available at http://www.terena.nl/libr/gnrt.
TERENA was about to close a contract with Addison Wesley for publication of the revised GNRT in book form in the English language, but this contract had been delayed because of uncertainties about the right to publish the GNRT as an RFC as well. Once Addison Wesley had published the book, the TERENA members would have an opportunity to buy copies via TERENA at discounts of up to 50 %. Also TERENA would offer to its National Members the right to publish the GNRT in book form in their national language; the rights for publication in languages in which TERENA members were not interested would subsequently be granted to Addison Wesley.

- PANTOMIME (Project for an Advanced Multimedia Electronic Mail Service in Europe)
The project proposal had been rejected by the reviewers for the "Telematics for Research" sector of the 4th Framework Programme. The work continued to be done on a volunteer basis, aiming at enhancements of servers and PINE. Funding will be needed to disseminate results.

- SCIMITAR (Support and Co-ordination for Integrated Telematics Applications for Researchers) had achieved better co-ordination with "Telematic for Research Projects" . The second Annual Review was held in early October and the outcome was expected to be very positive. An successor of the project, SCIMITAR-2, had been approved.
6(c) Response to Questionnaire
Sixteen TERENA members responded to the questionnaire that was sent out in July. All were positive about the TERENA Technical Programme and demonstrated interest in collaboration; however there were differing preferences: developed networks showed an interest in information services, whereas less advanced networks were more interested in infrastructure development. There was also considerable interest in security and multimedia applications, in particular CSCW. The members felt that TERENA should take a leadership role in Europe. TERENA wants to build a list of Technical Contacts resulting from this questionnaire. All members not yet having responded are urged still to do so.

During the discussion several items of interest came up:
* Projects should allow for publishing enough and recent material about and results of the projects on the Web;
* Most projects rely heavily on volunteer (and PDO) effort to complement the activities that are paid for, for instance the DEVICE project's volunteer effort is estimated at 80/90 k ECU.

ACTIONs
A08-02 TERENA Secretariat to offer the TERENA National Members the right to publish the GNRT in book form in their national language
A08-03 All TERENA Members to respond to the questionnaire regarding the TERENA Technical Programme


7. TERENA Association Matters
7 (a) TERENA Activity Plan 1998
As required by the TERENA Rules and Regulations, article 6.7, the Executive had drafted the TERENA Activity Plan for 1998 - file ref. GA(97)050. Karel Vietsch presented this document:

In 1998, TERENA was to build on the recent achievements and follow them up by further developing TERENA's activities, start new initiatives and harvest the results of actions set in motion during the past year. In view of the status of TERENA, there were a number of specific challenges to be addressed: D08-04 The General Assembly accepted the TERENA Activity Plan 1998.
7 (b) Direct Benefits to TERENA members
The GA during the 7th meeting in Edinburgh asked the Executive to set out the benefits of being a TERENA member. In the resulting document - file ref. GA(97)049- the Executive discusses the current benefits to TERENA members and makes proposals to the GA how to create a level of direct benefits to TERENA members. The document was presented by Karel Vietsch.

A vivid discussion ensued. It was stressed that being a member of TERENA is an expression of being in line with European Networking for Research. The benefits of being a member are basically intangible and indirect, though the Executive had now proposed a small level of additional direct and tangible benefits. Several members of the GA felt that giving exclusive and tangible rights to TERENA members, thereby creating the impression of an exclusive club, gives the wrong idea about TERENA. Solidarity and co-operation are the mainstay of TERENA.

Some members and potential members of TERENA do feel the need for a document that clearly sets out the benefits of being a TERENA member. The current members of TERENA agreed that a list of tangible benefits has no place in this document. The best "e; selling"e; item with regard to joining TERENA is and should be the TERENA Activity plan and its results. The GA agreed that the first two sections of the Benefits document are worthwhile, but might need a further explanation on the TERENA lobbying function. It was suggested that the first part of the document, partly rewritten, would fit very well as an introduction of the TERENA Annual Report.

ACTION
A08-04 Executive to rewrite the first part of the "e; Benefits to TERENA members"e; document into an introduction to the Annual Report.


8. TERENA Financial Matters
8 (a) Projected outlook 1997
The 1997 financial outlook as projected, based on figures available in early September - file ref. GA(97)037 -was presented by Lajos Bálint.

The bottom line figure of a deficit of 118,600 ECU is within the budgeted deficit of 119,000 ECU.

To reach this result, significant adjustments had to be made. On the income side the membership fee budget line was reduced as a result of the resignation from TERENA of RENATER, France (64 k ECU) and IIUCC, Israel (16 k ECU). This loss in income was aggravated by the unbudgeted but now projected loss on projects executed by TERENA of 78 k ECU, encompassing the loss on JENC8 (which is the main contributor to the loss), the NATO workshops in Edinburgh and Budapest, the PGP CD- ROM project and a little bit on the GUM-NCC.

Therefore, significant reductions had to be made at the expenditure side. This was achieved in the personnel costs budget line, the travel and meeting budget line and partly in the Technical Programme budget line.

It has proven impossible to persuade RENATER to rejoin TERENA. RENATER has a very small staff that cannot possibly participate actively in TERENA's Technical Programme itself, so participation by France in TERENA's activities should not come from the national research network organisation but from universities and research institutes, as is the case in some other countries. Recently RENATER had become more involved in European activities, by participating in TEN-34 and by considering to become a shareholder of DANTE. This changing attitude might offer longterm prospects for RENATER rejoining TERENA, also because other actors in France want that to happen.
The GA noted the information.

The next agenda items (8b and 8 c/d) were introduced on Thursday by Lajos Bálint, and discussed and voted upon on Friday. The document on change in contribution category was requested by the GA during the previous GA meeting. The budget 1998 proposal that the Executive favoured aims at terminating several years of deficit budgets. The Executive had investigated three scenario's, one that assumes that every member pays their dues, as well as that every research network within the TERENA geographic scope is a member. The second one was considered the realistic model, allowing for the current level of TERENA activity to continue with the present TERENA membership. The last scenario was deemed a dangerous one, as it, while reducing the expenditure, could set into motion a downward spiral of diminishing activity levels.

Meeting resumed on Friday 24 October at 9 am, with 94 votes present.

During the discussion it was stated that the need for the rise in membership fees for scenario's 2 and 3 was partly a result of TERENA members not paying their dues. Several questions had been raised and were answered:
* Should the membership fee be kept constant, the deficit for 1998 would be budgeted at 96 k ECU using the proposed new contribution categories and 108 k ECU at the old ones
* Termination of membership of Russia and Georgia would result in a depreciation of over 75 k ECU, and a loss of income of 3 %
* The breakdown of the total personnel costs at the Secretariat is roughly as follows: SG - 100, CTO and CAO - 90 each, 3 PDO's - 185, 3 administrative staff - 120 and Systems support - 25 k ECU, to a total of 610 k ECU.
8 (b) Change of Contribution Category of National Members
The GA had requested an assessment of the GNPs of TERENA members. The result was set out in the document - file ref. GA(97)027, which was presented by Lajos Bálint.

It was suggested to adopt a motion that only those members that have paid their dues in full have voting rights. However, this is not possible according to Dutch Association law. The only "e; remedy"e; TERENA has is the threat of termination of membership in the case of an accumulation of debts.

The Executive Committee proposed to adopt the GNP figures published by the United Nations as the GNP figures on which to base the TERENA voting and membership fee categories.

On the basis of the latest available UN statistics on GNPs (1994), the Executive Committee proposed to adopt the following upward changes in membership fee and voting category: Luxembourg questioned its move upwards, since the research community in Luxembourg is comparable to those of Cyprus and Iceland, countries that are well placed in category 1. Also, there is no obvious reason to draw the line between the categories 1 and 2 in such a way that Luxembourg moves into category 2.

Karel Vietsch admitted that while in most cases the boundaries between the categories are self-evident, this is not the case for the boundary between categories 1 and 2. However, both Slovakia and Luxembourg had enjoyed a real increase in GNP in the past years and on the basis of this trend the gap between Slovakia and Luxembourg on the one hand and Bulgaria on the other was now probably wider than could be seen from the 1994 figures. The Executive proposed to put the boundary between categories 1 and 2 between Luxembourg and Bulgaria, at 10 B USD.

SANET, Slovakia, felt that promotion to the next category is appropriate, and so did HUNGARNET, Hungary. The other members that are affected by the proposed upward changes in category were not present.

The Executive Committee proposed that the fee to be charged for 1998 for the TERENA members who move up one category will be the membership fee in the original category plus 50 % of the difference between the fees of the old and the new category and that the full fee of the new category would be charged for 1999.

The Executive Committee proposed to adopt the following downward changes in membership fee and voting category: UNICOM-B, Bulgaria, had asked during the previous GA meeting to reassess the GNPs, as they had difficulty paying the membership fees. They were satisfied with the result of the reassessment, and will likewise be happy to get back into category 2, once the economic situation improves.

Further suggestions made during the meeting:
* the checking of the GNPs needs to be done once a year, automatically;
* a formula should be developed, to do away with the arbitrariness currently involved in determining the boundaries between the categories. A strict formula should be able to accommodate such results in a fair and unbiased fashion; an example might be to increase the value of each boundary with a percentage that is equal to the average growth of the GNPs.

The General Assembly adopted all proposals made above as follows. Votes: 83 in favour, 3 abstentions (Hungary, Lithuania), 8 against (Luxembourg, Germany).

D08-05 The General Assembly adopted the GNP figures published by the United Nations as the GNP figures on which to base the TERENA voting and membership fee categories.

D08-06 The General Assembly adopted the following upward changes in membership fee and voting category: D08-07 The General Assembly decided to put the boundary between categories 1 and 2 between Luxembourg and Bulgaria, at 10 B USD.

D08-08 The General Assembly decided that the fee to be charged for 1998 for the TERENA members who move up one category will be the membership fee in the original category plus 50 % of the difference between the fees of the old and the new category and that the full fee of the new category would be charged for 1999.

D08-09 The General Assembly adopted the following downward changes in membership fee and voting category:
ACTION
A08-05 Executive to develop a formula to determine the boundaries between the TERENA membership categories.

Part 2 of the minutes of the 8th TERENA GA meeting