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A Second Start for the NLnet Foundation: Short Term Plans

(By Teus Hagen, Frances Brazier, Wytze van der Raay, and Jos Alsters; The Board of the NLnet Foundation)

To some extent the NLnet Foundation's history (see our article in ;login:'s April 1998 issue) resembles UUnet's history, at least with respect to its origins in the UNIX Users Group, both in Europe and Holland (NLUUG). NLnet Holding, the company set up by NLnet Foundation, focused on internet service and backbone provision. At the end of August 1997 the ownership of NLnet Holding was transferred to UUnet. The NLnet Foundation has obtained a position somewhat similar to Advanced Network Services in the US.

The NLnet Foundation now faces new challenges. Its position is unique: the Foundation is financially, commercially and governmentally independent. Its original goal "to stimulate electronic information exchange" can now be reinstated, with less emphasis on backbone and service provision. The Foundation plans to play its role as a stimulating organization, supporting initiatives for network research, development and software availability in the public domain.

Beginning May 1, 1998, two of the Executive Board members will be employed full time by the Foundation. All Board members have been active in UNIX User Groups and UNIX networking for more then ten years and are expecting to be able to use their existing connections with UNIX User Groups (in particular NLUUG and USENIX) constructively. This article is one example of this relationship; presence at USENIX meetings (e.g. the annual technical conference in New Orleans) is another.

One of the internet consortia with which the Foundation is exploring a possible collaboration is the Internet Software Consortium (ISC), with respect to its software development activities such as secure DNS. Collaboration with other internet consortia is being explored. The goal of the Foundation is to look for loose ends and ideas, to synchronise activities, and to improve distribution channels (e.g., through collaboration with O' Reilly, RedHat, SuSe, etc.). In addition, initiation of new software projects that can contribute to technology improvements and better electronic information exchange are being pursued.

Collaboration with the Dutch Internet Services Providers Association (NLIP) is another option being examined, in particular with respect to the role the Foundation could play in Holland as a neutral organisation for alarm and help desks for children porno information events, CERT type of events, and certification organizational help.

At the end of this year the Foundation will explore possible collaboration with universities and other non-profit institutes with respect to internet related research and education. In addition, the Foundation is considering collaboration with a number of software development projects, such as: DNS, INN, DHCP, PGP, ISDN4*NIX, sendmail, IMAP, LDAP, etc. Please do not hesitate to approach the Foundation with new suggestions, keeping in mind that the Foundation's involvement must be more than just financial.

Last but not least, here is some information about the people involved. The Foundation has four Board members (general director Teus Hagen, financial director Wytze van der Raay, research director Frances Brazier,  and director Jos Alsters) and an Advisory Board (prof. Paul de Bra, for network technology, Anne-Marie Kemna (KPMG and the University of Leiden) for legal matters, and Erik Esseling (Moret Ernst and Young) for financial affairs). In May the name NLnet Services will no longer exist as such but will be known as UUNET Nederland BV. From then on the Foundation will appear on the net as The Board can be reached via e-mail through the alias ("Stichting" is the Dutch word for foundation).

The NLnet Foundation will keep you informed about its activities through its website, UNIX User Group and USENIX conferences, ;login: and the NLUUG and other newsletters.