We want to help you. Whether you’re an established NOG who would love a bit of help with the dull administrative side of things, you’re just starting and need some support to get off the ground with a new NOG, or you’re a lone network operator who wants to find your tribe, the Global NOG Alliance is about giving anyone who needs it the right kind of assistance to make their NOG what they need it to be, for the good of the internet.
We’ve only just started, so we want to keep our immediate goals (and costs) modest. Our activity plan is set up with extensible goals. The more sponsorship we get, the more we will be able to do to help the community. We’re using an agile approach: taking small steps with demonstrable results, and learning from each step. That way we will make sure that we spend our funds and efforts as efficiently as possible.
NOG web & mail hosting
The first activity we start with is website and mail hosting for NOGs. We have learned that many NOGs feel that they are wasting precious time on keeping servers and software packages like WordPress up‐to‐date.
This is something that we can help with. We offer this as a free service to all NOGs around the world. Contact us if you want us to host your NOG website!
Another activity we can easily start is to encourage and facilitate cooperation between NOGs. Many NOGs are in places where it is difficult for members to travel or for others to come to their events. This isolates them, wasting their time with reinventing the wheel. Let’s work together!
We have started with a Facebook discussion group. Instead of starting yet another mailing list, we have agreed with RIPE NCC that they will let NOG organisers from all around the world join the mailing list they had already set up for the RIPE region. Contact us to be introduced!
Programme tool development
Organising a NOG event is hard work. Putting an interesting programme together is an important part of that. RIPE NCC has developed a Programme Committee Submission System (PCSS) for managing talk submissions and agenda planning that they have made open source WordPress plugin. We want to offer this as a hosted service to all NOGs.
There is some work to be done though. The open source version of PCSS is still very rough and needs some polishing. Once we have some funding available we want to contribute to PCSS and help with its development, either by outsourcing some work to professional WordPress developers, or by financially supporting volunteers who work on it.
The other important part about putting together a programme is to find good speakers. We want to create a list of speakers that NOGs can contact. That list will be composed by and for NOGs. When you have had a great speaker recommend them and we’ll add them to the list!
This is a planned activity, so we haven’t started yet, but if you have good experiences with a speaker feel free to put them in touch with us! With a bit of help this planned activity can be implemented quickly!
Provide legal structure
Many NOGs are not‐for‐profit events that are completely run by volunteers. Some NOGs are established as foundations or associations, but many don’t even exist as legal entities. They are run by a handful of volunteers organising everything using their personal bank accounts.
This can be a problem for sponsors who would rather not transfer money to a person, but also for setting up contracts when hiring venues.
While GNA will not become a global event organiser itself, we can provide a legal structure for NOGs that need it.
There are many differences in how networks are operated around the globe. The constraints on building networks can differ quite a lot, and with different constraints come different solutions.
We want to collect all the experiences with those solutions and share them around the world to let network operators learn from each other. Based on those experiences we can document what the best practices are, both in general and for specific circumstances.
Support open source
The internet is built using lots of open source software and hardware. There are many tools that are very valuable to network operators that are developed in people’s spare time or as side projects inside companies.
We want to support those open source projects that are important to the internet, network operators and NOGs but have little or no funding, so that their continued existence and development can be ensured.
Not all NOGs have the ability to fund travel expenses for good speakers. Some speakers are funded by their employers. While this makes it possible for NOGs to get great talks, it can also create a bias in the content of those talks.
We want to cover travel expenses to good speakers who would otherwise not be able to go to speak at the more difficult to reach NOGs. The focus would be on funding speakers on open source and community related topics.
Just as some NOGs cannot fund speakers, there are many NOG participants that cannot afford to travel to other events to broaden their horizon. This can be because of financial reasons, but also because of travel and visa restrictions between countries.
GNA would like to provide fellowships to help network operators to travel and learn from each other. The focus would be on participants from countries which suffer the most from political and financial isolation.
Many NOGs organise training courses before or after their main event. We would like to help by providing training material on relevant topics that can be used freely by NOGs
Such training sessions often also require technical support, for example for running lab environments. We would like to offer such environments as an online service for NOG participants, network operators and other people interested in network technology.
As an extension of this goal we would like to be able to send small computers (Raspberry Pi, Intel NUC etc.) to NOGs that don’t have enough internet capacity to use the online version as well.