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Dear P2P WG Members:

As a fellow panelist at the recent P2P in Higher Education Conference put it, P2P as a technology is now in its early teenage years. We're past that initial fury of excitement which encircles a new emerging technology (just two years ago, there were over 150 companies claiming to be P2P) and we're still trying to find the legs of revenue substance upon which we can stand tall as our own sector within the software industry.

This is typically a period of rationalization in any industry sector's development (accelerated by the current recession) and true to that notion, some of our early new technology members, such as Consilient, have fallen by the wayside, while more established companies, such as Cisco, have been recently attracted to join the P2P WG. So, the mix of our membership has shifted considerably over the past year without declining overall - we're still about forty corporate members.

That said, the quantity of P2P WG leadership originally provided by those many small early companies has diminished somewhat, as some of those companies have faltered or shifted their focus away from P2P in general. The more established companies who have joined the P2P WG more recently are not yet as ready to fill that leadership gap as they will be once they've more fully adopted P2P internally, as we hope and believe they surely will over time. So, in the short term, we have a dilemma.

With new elections imminent for P2P WG leadership positions, your Steering and Technical Architecture Committees believe that we may not be able to find sufficient technologists to serve in the necessary leadership roles to accomplish our membership's expectations and that the time has come to consider incorporating the P2P WG as a working group within some larger industry body. The W3C, IETF, Global Grid Forum and IDEAlliance have all been put forward as possibilities.

As our current problem appears to be insufficient technical critical mass, we need to choose an organization wherein we are likely to find additional companies and technologists also concerned with addressing and solving the technical issues raised by peer-to-peer technology. Consequently, we need to find an organization working as closely to the peer-to-peer space as reasonably possible.

We are also naturally concerned that the important work we have been pursuing as the P2P Working Group not be lost as an insignificant component of any larger successor organization. We are anxious to ensure that our valuable peer-to-peer work can continue with the industry prominence it deserves, albeit under another umbrella organization.

With these thoughts in mind, and based on our considerable review and analysis, your Steering and Technical Architecture Committees are collectively inclined to the opinion that, of the various standards bodies being considered, the Global Grid Forum may best meet our objectives. The Global Grid Forum is moving away from its traditional focus on high-performance computing in favor of focusing on the convergence of grid computing and Web Services, areas which have considerable conceptual overlaps with large parts of Peer-To-Peer, and a number of the current members of the P2P WG are also members of the GGF.

No matter which organization we choose for amalgamation, there will be transition issues. Our current "Committee and Sub-Group Procedures" will need to be replaced with the corresponding operating procedures of the successor organization and so our election and management processes can be expected to change. Also, some member companies may be uncomfortable with the organization chosen for amalgamation, or may already belong to it, and so some partial reimbursement of previously paid membership fees may need to be considered.

This past January, Bob Knighten, left Intel and was therefore obliged to step down as Chair of the P2P WG's Technical Architecture Committee. Similarly, at the end of March, I will be leaving my role as President & COO of Endeavors Technology and so I will also be obliged to step down as Chair of the P2P WG's Steering Committee.

The P2P WG will need new leadership during this upcoming transition and your executive is collectively of the view that we won't know what P2P WG management structure will make the most sense inside the new organization until we negotiate the merger arrangements in more detail.

At our upcoming March 26th general meeting, your P2P WG executive team will be proposing that the P2P WG:

  1. Move to amalgamate with another standards organization;

  2. Select the Global Grid Forum as the organization of choice;

  3. Offer partial refunds of membership fees for reasons explained above (a plan is being developed and will be presented at the meeting);

  4. Elect a Transitional Chairperson to replace our current three Chairperson triumvirate (Steering, Technical & Marketing Committees) until our new management structure can be determined within the new standards organization and new elections can be held for roles to be defined during the transition; and,

  5. Empower and hold responsible our elected Transitional Chairperson to negotiate the amalgamation and to lead the P2P WG through to new elections to be held later this year under whatever organizational rules may apply.

Your executive team anticipates a lively and fruitful discussion at our general meeting on March 26th. Given the importance of the decisions to be made at the meeting, a conference call capability will be made available for members unable to attend in person.

We look forward to a new era for the P2P WG, as Peer-to-Peer becomes increasingly recognized as a mainstream technology for the computing industry. We believe that merging the previously independent P2P WG into a larger standards body is the next natural step in that evolution.

Kindest Regards,

Brian Morrow
Chair, Steering Committee,
Peer-to-Peer Working Group

 

 

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