[ih] Query: When did the IETF change to "everyone can come"?

Noel Chiappa jnc at mercury.lcs.mit.edu
Mon Dec 4 09:17:16 PST 2006

    > From: Craig Partridge <craig at aland.bbn.com>

    > The 5th IETF was, I believe, open to anyone.

Craig, I'm not sure that "open to anyone" is really an apt description; I'm
not sure that some random person coming in off the street would have been
allowed in. I suspect it was more like NSF had been added to the list of
organizations that could send people.

E.g. look at the attendance list from IETF 6. Other than a couple of people
from Proteon, someone from ACC and U-B, and Len Bosack from the newly-formed
Cisco (whose email address was at HP!), there aren't any commercial people
there other than the usual government contractors (BBN, SRI, Unisys, etc) -
and to some degree, ACC was a contractor too. (Of course, most corporations
did't have a clue about the desirability of being there - this was, after
all, 1987...)

I don't have time to look at attendee lists, but I suspect you have to go a
few meetings further out, to the time when the NSF-incubated regional
networks got rolling, to find genuinely open meetings.

    > I've never gotten the full story on IETFS 1 through 4

Well, I was at 1, 2 and 4, and to my recollection, it was pretty much the
same as 6; i.e. you knew people, or were contractors, or something - some
real involvement with the Internet that allowed you to come. If you look at
the attendee list from 4, for example, it looks pretty much like the list
from 6.

I really don't know (and probably never did) who made the formal OK/not-OK
decision on attendance. It may indeed have been slightly easier to get in to,
say, IETF 6 than IETF 1-2 (which really were limited to government people and
DARPA contactors, I suspect).

My perception is that there was no sharp break in the IWG/GADS/IETF
evolution; just a slow, steady movement.


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