Réseaux IP Européens (RIPE) is an open forum for members and non-members who have an interest in the technical development of the Internet in Europe and abroad. RIPE is not a formal organization, nor is it a legal entity. No formal membership is required or imposed.
RIPE is a separate entity from RIPE NCC, and the two should not be confused. RIPE NCC is a regional internet registry, responsible for allocating Internet resources and coordinating registration and services for Europe, the Middle East, and parts Central Asia. When referring to the RIPE community, however, there is no distinction between RIPE members or RIPE NCC members. Anyone who has an active interest in the way the Internet is being managed or governed, specifically within RIPE NCC's jurisdiction in Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia, is considered as part of the RIPE community.
RIPE started in 1989 in Amsterdam when a group of IT network operators decided to start organizing meetings to share knowledge and experiences related to their work. There were originally 14 representatives from 6 countries.
RIPE became a truly important entity on November 29th, 1989, after an increase in meeting attendance from IT network operators created the need for a coordination center. On September 16th, 1990, RIPE NCC was established to deal with administrative tasks, but it was not formally established and recognized until 1992. RIPE NCC became a separate legal entity in 1998, although the two organizations remain highly interdependent.
RIPE NCC supports RIPE by facilitating RIPE meetings and providing support for RIPE working groups. RIPE NCC maintains the RIPE database by creating and managing a document store.
RIPE Working Groups
In order to deal with issues and develop new policies, RIPE organized various working groups. These issues can be proposed by RIPE members, and often influence RIPE NCC members or the Internet community as a whole. Members of these working groups are volunteers, and maintain communication and discussion by means of mailing lists. Meetings are held biannually.