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Impressions from NLNOG-day 2016

Vesna Manojlovic — 16 Sep 2016
The Dutch Network Operators Group had its annual conference on 9 September 2016, in Amsterdam. Here are some impressions of the event.

Introduction

NLNOG-day is a one-day conference by and for network operators, system administrators, security experts, hackers and other people interested in Internet operations. It's an opportunity for the community to connect with each other, to exchange experiences, to learn from one another, to establish a basis for maintaining and building a better Internet - and to enjoy free beer!

This year repeated the success of a similar event in 2015 by using the same formula: superb logistical organisation, impressive speakers, interesting topics, lots of giveaways, and "the quiz" (more on this below). All this was made possible by the NLNOG crew of volunteers, who gathered the support of many sponsors and used their connections within the community to attract both very good presenters and a large number of participants. 

 

Audience view (Credit: Alex Band)  

Highlights

The speakers shared a wealth of knowledge. The full list of presentations, including slides, is available on the NLNOG website .

While technical talks are relevant for engineers and operators, personally I find the presentations that relate to the broader social aspects more interesting:

Rejo talked about Dutch legislation that will influence how Internet providers need to handle customer data, which will have an impact on the privacy of users as a consequence. He urged the technical community to speak up, because politicians need to hear from those who have knowledge about potential law and policy implementations. 

Ron gave a historical overview of the early days of the Internet, looking back on the ideals that formed the culture of co-operation, sharing, transparency and trust that might have been lost after the Internet became more "commercial", balanced by the improvements that happened after the Internet stopped being "mostly academic". This was brilliantly presented by Ron, who included a "show and tell" of the books, magnetic tapes and other "archeological" items from his career. 

The "good of the Internet" is one of the main reasons volunteers from the NLNOG Foundation put so much effort into making the new platform available for experiments, free software and open-source software projects, research, etc. If you have more ideas or want to help, please get in touch with them! 

Prizes 

The most interactive session of the day was "The Merciless NLNOG Quiz". Everyone was invited to take part, and more than 100 people did! We had to pay attention to the questions, quickly choose one of the multiple-choice answers, and at the same time keep the phone and the "app" running and connected. Questions went into very detailed technical depths, and I found that all of my obscure knowledge tidbits about games and movies were finally useful!

The first-prize winner received a /24 of Legacy IPv4 address space! The second and third prizes were technical gadgets, and the "consolation prize" for more than 70 people was a "The Things Network" board, to participate in the LoRaWan platform. In addition to that, every visitor received a goodie bag and t-shirt. Thank you to all the sponsors! 

Socialising  

A very important part of any networking event is, of course, social networking. We had many opportunities to mingle, meet old friends, make new business contacts, and exchange ideas during the coffee breaks, in the lunch queue, and at the BBQ at the end of the day. The weather was uncharacteristically sunny for a Dutch September, and many foreign visitors were pleasantly surprised. Personally, I met mostly with RIPE Atlas ambassadors , who are eager to get more RIPE Atlas probes and carry them to remote places on the globe. I also asked several participants to join our upcoming hackathons. Many other colleagues from the RIPE NCC were present, both as attendees as well as organisers, since we are tightly linked with the local Internet community in the Netherlands, where our main office is based. 

Lasting impressions

The NLNOG Day 2016 was a superbly organised event, and the Dutch can be proud both of their technical contributions to running the Internet, and of their vibrant community. I look forward to meeting everyone again in 2017!

 

 

 

 

 

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