Draft Minutes of the 7th TERENA General Assembly

location: Caledonian Hotel, Edinburgh, Scotland
15 May 1997 14:00 - 18:00
16 May 1997 09:00 - 12.30

1. Welcome and Apologies

The list of participants, GA(97)020, is appended to these minutes. Apologies were received from: MARNET (MK), UNI-C (DK), CARNET (HR), EMBL, ECMWF, UNIBEL (BY) and FCCN (PT).

The number of votes represented of the possible 125 (126 after agenda item 4) were 95 (96 after agenda item 4) on the first day and 92 on the second day.

2. Approval of Agenda

The agenda was approved though item 10 (a) was taken after item 6 to accommodate the JENC8 Programme Chair who wished to address the GA on the subject of TERENA conferences.

3. Minutes and Action List of Previous Meeting

3a) Minutes of the 6th TERENA General Assembly, 24/25 October 1996

D07-01 The General Assembly approved the final draft minutes of the 6th TERENA General Assembly meeting, GA(96)033, without change.

3b) GA Action List Update

New Action
A07-01 The SG, together with DANTE, to complete the document being drafted reacting to the Commission's proposal for the Vth Framework Programme of the EU.

4. Membership Matters

4a) Changes in Membership

Formal notification of the change of organization was presented to the General Assembly. It was proposed that ULAKBIM replaces TUVAKA as the National member for Turkey and this was unanimously accepted by the GA.

Having received an application for national membership from LATNET the GA was informed by Mr. Kikuts that the organization had been formed in 1992 and currently has 8000 hosts and over 20000 customers. The GA warmly welcomed the representative of LATNET.

A letter was presented to the GA in which IIUCC requested associate membership for 1997 but the Executive Committee felt that they could not recommend acceptance. It was reported to the GA that the Secretariat had written to IIUCC for clarification of their intention should the application be refused and whether it should be taken as a letter of resignation from 31/12/96.
Steve Druck pointed out that Israel had always paid promptly in the past but explained that they were suffering severe financial difficulties during 1997. If granted the associate member status for 1997, he felt that it was quite likely that they would re-apply for national membership in 1998.

Concern was expressed at losing contacts with Israel should their application be refused but it was pointed out that acceptance would set a dangerous precedent which could be financially detrimental to TERENA.
A vote was taken by show of hands at which there were 7 abstentions, no votes against and all others present were in favor of the Executive Committee's recommendation that the application from Israel for associate membership be turned down. It was felt that the letter requesting the change in status should be interpreted as a resignation and Steve Druck promised to confirm Israel's intention within a few weeks.

D07-02 The GA unanimously approved the change of national member for Turkey to ULAKBIM.

D07-03 The GA unanimously approved the acceptance of LATNET's application to join TERENA as the national member for Latvia who will have one vote and pay one fee unit per year membership fee.

D07-04 The General Assembly, by a clear majority, decided not to allow IIUCC Associate member status from 1/1/97.

New Action
A07 - 02 Steve Druck to inform the Executive of IIUCC's decision regarding national membership of TERENA following the decision not to grant Associate membership.

4b) Changes in representative

The following changes in representative were reported to the GA:

Dorte Olesen and Ole Carsten are the new representatives for UNI-C. They replace Klaus Hansen, formerly the deputy representative, and Frode Greisen who has left UNI-C to become the Managing Director of Ebone Inc. Frode has also resigned from his position as special adviser to the TERENA Executive Committee.

An email was received advising that Eric Luyten has replaced Stephen Biesbroeck as the deputy representative for BELNET. It now appears that Eric must also stand down and details of a replacement are awaited.

Formal notification has been received that Peter Kaufmann replaces Martin Wilhelm as deputy representative for DFN.

A letter has been received from EENet dated 5 May 1997. Mr Mihkel Kraav, formerly the deputy, replaces Mr Enoch Sein as representative for EENet and his deputy is to be Anne Määrdimääe.

Notification has been received from FCCN that Pedro Veiga replaces Heitor Pina as the representative for Portugal.

A letter was produced at the meeting advising that Prof. Daniel J. Bem is now the first representative of NASK and Prof. Hofmokl the deputy.

The General Assembly noted these changes.

4c) Outstanding membership fees

Attention was drawn to document GA(97)10 which listed outstanding membership fees from 1995 and 1996 but the GA were notified that the 1996 membership fee for Lithuania had now been paid.
A further table, GA(97)009, listed the outstanding fees for 1997. It was pointed out that DANTE appeared erroneously having paid their membership fee before 31/12/97. Two updates were also advised having recently received payment from Denmark and Estonia. The treasurer pointed out that the debts for 1995/6 still totalled ECU 79k and there was ECU 178k outstanding for 1997. He stressed that these debts severely undermined the TERENA reserves and jeopardised the technical activities which benefited all. He appealed for members with debts to pay them as soon as possible and to contact him if severe financial difficulties were preventing payment.

The General Assembly were reminded of the new Financial Procedures applying from 1997 as approved at the GA in Budapest, May 1996. Fees that remain unpaid become subject to late payment charges and additional charges in respect of issuing reminders which begins in respect of those fees still unpaid by mid-May '97.

5. TERENA Financial Report

The Treasurer, in compliance with article 14.3 of the TERENA statutes presented the 1996 Financial Report for adoption by the General Assembly. He pointed out that the 1996 balance sheet was not comparable with 1995 because of the financial separation of Ebone whose funds had now been transferred to UNI-C in Denmark. The capital balance at the end of 1996 was reported as approximately ECU 800k and income and expenditure in 1996 had been just within budget. The reduction in TERENA reserves was attributed mostly to the increase in technical activities but the importance of this work was stressed.

The overseer for the General Assembly in respect of the 1996 accounts, Michael Walsh of HEAnet, reported that he had attended a meeting with TERENA secretariat staff, the Treasurer and TERENA auditors having received a copy of the figures in advance. He reported that he was pleased with the work done, commented that the documentation was more readable and thanked the secretariat staff for their efforts. He pointed out that much of the "historical baggage" of the 1980s activities and the RARE/EARN merger had now gone. and that during 1996, the Ebone separation had taken considerable time and effort on the part of those involved with TERENA finances at the Secretariat.

A question was asked concerning progress with the tax situation and it was reported that on the issue of Company tax a satisfactory conclusion had been reached though this was not the case with VAT. The Secretary General informed the General Assembly that meetings were still in progress with the tax authorities and that the problem was in respect of EU funding for Framework Programme projects. The EU state that funding from the Framework Programme is not subject to VAT. The Dutch Government say it is although it would be at a zero rate. The tax official with whom TERENA originally dealt has been replaced and there is a limbo whilst the Dutch Government and the EU keep to their respective interpretations. Further reports were promised when an outcome is reached.

D07-05 The General Assembly adopted the 1996 accounts.

New Action
A07 - 03 The Secretariat is to keep the General Assembly informed of the outcome of ongoing discussions with the Dutch tax authorities concerning TERENA's VAT status.

6. Annual Report including Secretariat Report

Attention was drawn to the Annual Report with a new layout/ design and praise given to Paul Rendek at the secretariat for his work in that area. The content of the report had been under the control of an editorial board including Paul Ridley of RIPE NCC who had much improved their text within the document. Comment was also made on the work done by the TERENA CTO in clarifying the TERENA technical activities. Working Groups were originally the most important activity but, whilst they are still a valuable pool of resources, the concrete work is now carried out by task forces and under projects.
It was explained that the Secretariat report is no longer included in the same cover as the rest of the TERENA annual report as it is planned that the latter document will be widely distributed to industry and others to encourage participation in TERENA activities. It was felt that it would be more appropriate for the secretariat report to be presented to the GA separately as presented in document GA(97)016 included with the notes provided for the meeting.
The TERENA president thanked the Executive Committee and the Secretariat staff involved for their input and praised the new format and content of the document.

The General Assembly noted the 1996 TERENA Annual Report and Secretariat report.

7. Technical Programme 7a) TTC Report

It was reported that the TTC has met 4 times since the last GA meeting with the most recent being in Edinburgh before JENC8.

7b) Projects and Task Forces - Progress Report

The VP Technical Programme gave an update on current projects and task forces:

The contract with DANTE/UKERNA has now been signed (1/5/97) for 1 year pilot service at 'Incident Support level'. So far, funding has been committed by RedIRIS, UKERNA, CNUCE, SWITCH, SURFnet, NORDUnet, ARNES with DFN expected to commit soon.
It is intended that the service be raised to 'Basic Incident Co-ordination' but this will cost money and be dependent on funding. Future funding on a wider level will not be easy and it is a requirement that any national network joining has a CERT.
Two committees are to be set up:
The desk top video conferencing project has suffered some delay in purchasing the necessary software but commitments have been reconfirmed by the partners and testing of the ISDN software is now taking place. This should be finished by the end of August.

The Co-operative Hierarchical Object Caching aims to set up a network of linked Web caches in Europe to cut down on the use of expensive bandwidth. Three meetings have been held and the work plan and results of a survey undertaken are to be found on the TERENA Web store.

European traffic monitoring task force has met once under the leadership of Kevin Hoadley of UKERNA and there was a good exchange of work under progress.

The first phase of the Guide to Networked Resource Tools project has now been completed and the results are available on the TERENA Web site. It contains a substantial amount of fresh material on networked tools and a new complimentary task orientated User Overview. The second phase, which has been agreed and funded by TERENA, will see expansion of the Web version and the secretariat is talking to publishers with a view to obtaining a printed version and retrieving the costs of Phase 2.

The General Assembly had been asked to help fund this but apart from free effort no other support was forthcoming A proposal has now been put to the IVth Framework Programme of the EU for further funding and the start date of the project put back from July to September.

Initially, there had been problems with this project and the European Commission were not happy with the work being carried out. Now that TERENA has a full compliment of technical staff it has been possible to deliver a higher level of commitment to SCIMITAR and the result of the improvement has been an extension of the current project until mid 1998 with encouragement to submit a follow-on SCIMITAR2 proposal. A proposal by TERENA and ULB was submitted in April.

The Environment to Inspire Network Users Task Force, lead by George Munroe and Christine Cahoon, met in Edinburgh before the JENC8 conference. The task force, a successor to UNITE, was set up by TERENA and IETF and aims to develop a pilot on-line support system to demonstrate the features of an ideal system.

This is a new task force concerned with harvesting and indexing network resources for building resource discovery databases. It fall under the umbrella of the WG - ISUS and WG - QMN working groups.

New Projects
The General assembly had approved the use of ECU 100k in the 1997 budget to be used to fund small pilot projects in an attempt to generate technical activity. A call for ideas was put out with submissions to be reviewed by the TTC meeting in Edinburgh, prior to the GA meeting.
Ten proposals were received and reviewed by the TTC but it was felt that more information is required on each proposal before any decisions are made.

7c) TERENA Approach to Industrial Involvement

The CTO reported on progress made since 1996. With a full complement of technical staff, PDO's had been able to have time to make innovative contributions to the technical programme and support the Working Groups and Task Forces more effectively. The pilot programme had been put in place and there had been a substantial improvement in the SCIMITAR project, to such an extent that DG XIII had invited TERENA to consider putting in a proposal for a further phase of the project, and this had been done.

The CTO had also undertaken an assessment of how best to fund a more comprehensive technical programme, examining both industry and the TERENA as possible sources of finance. A survey of commercial companies had shown a very cool response to involvement. This was not unexpected in today's highly competitive market. A small survey of nine TERENA members however had revealed a willingness to allocate national funds to TERENA wide projects, where clear useful results would improve European wide services and interoperability.

It was pointed out that the total funding requirement to fund a full scale coherent technical programme could reach around 1 million ECU per year, although when divided between many sponsoring organisations, the contributions for individual projects might be as low as 20-50 K ECU per organization.

It was agreed that a TERENA wide survey should be carried out by the CTO to ascertain the true level of funding that might be available and the most common areas of development.

New Action
A07 -04 CTO to carry out a survey of TERENA members to ascertain the true level of funding which might be available for TERENA wide projects and common areas of development.

The second half of the minutes