[UKUUG Logo] Copyright © 1995-2004 UKUUG Ltd



Newsletter Section 4

Around Europe

DKUUG in Multimillion-Dollar Deal with TeleDanmark

The Danish UNIX-Systems User Group (DKUUG), based in Copenhagen, Denmark, has a problem that most associations would love to have: what do to with a very large amount of money. DKUUG recently announced the sale of DKnet, an Internet service provider (ISP) company which the group has developed over the past eight years. The buyer, TeleDanmark, is the country's main telecommunications company. With the proceeds from this transaction (described as "several million dollars"), DKUUG is now in a strong position to expand its presence in Denmark and further promote UNIX and open systems through conferences, trade shows and publications.

"I am absolutely amazed by the success we've had with this project. It surpassed my wildest expectations," says Kim Biel-Nielsen, vice chairman of DKUUG. "We now have a huge pile of cash. The important thing is to use it wisely."

DKUUG was formed in 1982 and now has more than 1,100 members throughout Denmark. The user group was originally involved in providing Internet access to DKUUG members in the Danish academic community. In 1983, DKUUG began allowing non-members to use the service. Demand grew so quickly that a year later, DKUUG formed DKnet as a commercial company offering Internet access and other services such as e-mail to individuals and business customers. DKnet has now become Denmark's largest commercial ISP, prompting the sale to TeleDanmark. Says Biel-Nielsen, "Our activities have reached a dimension which lies beyond what we feel an association should deal with."

TeleDanmark has also recently acquired Diatel, a service provider similar to CompuServe, and expects to offer services that include a country-wide electronic payment system. With the acquisition of DKnet, TeleDanmark will now control 80 percent of Denmark's Internet user market, estimated at over 100,000.

The sale of DKnet puts DKUUG in an interesting and enviable position. "It gives us the total freedom to do new things," says Biel-Nielsen. "Being an association, we have many people with many different ideas, so the trick will be to identify the best ideas."

Some of these ideas involve an expanded range of seminars and conferences. "Previously we couldn't have a seminar and conference which ran at a loss in terms of revenues," says Biel-Nielsen. "Now we have the flexibility to provide more programs and have better speakers." He says that in April, Danish officials will meet with the UniForum Association at Santa Clara, USA, to discuss ways that DKUUG can sublicense the services offered by UniForum in the United States. "That way, we can bring the best of UniForum to Denmark," he remarks. Biel-Nielsen also mentions that the DKUUG will use funds to expand the association's newsletter.

The position of UNIX in Denmark is similar to that in the United States, according to Biel-Nielsen. "UNIX is increasing in popularity, but it is increasingly invisible

since it is mainly a server platform," he says. "As a server, it's noticed only when it goes down. Now, UNIX doesn't go down, which means that it isn't noticed." With DKUUG's new efforts, the visibility of UNIX and open systems in Denmark may increase significantly.

EurOpen - Its Future

What is the future for EurOpen? It is too good a Group just to let go through indifference, but has it got a future? Has it something in these changing times still to offer the National Groups who make up its identity - for it has no separate being.

These were the questions tackled by Chairman, Kim Biel-Nielsen and Treasurer, Andrew Macpherson when they met at the Owles Hall office in February 1996.

The money in the bank at that date, being the beginning of a new financial year, was seriously low at approximately 32,000 ECU, with only the Swedish Group as Sponsor and the Belgium Group as Junior Member having paid their subscription for 1996 in January.

Since then Hungary, Finland, Croatia, Italy, Portugal, Denmark, Belgium, Czech Republic and Germany have paid, but there has been some re-grouping which will affect the income. GUUG (Germany) have downgraded from Sponsor Member to Full Member. NUUG (Norway) have downgraded from Full Member to Junior Member. UKUUG (UK) and AFUU (France) are understood to be considering their position, [see Treasurer's report on page 3. Ed] likewise DKUUG (Denmark) are considering upgrading to Sponsor.

However, provided National Groups do pay their 1996 subscriptions as expected and provided the income from the sale of EUnet shares comes in during March as promised, EurOpen can continue to function financially for one to two years.

Savings in expenditure are in the pipeline. The fee to the Secretariat is to be halved and brought in line with reduced activities. Travel and meetings will have to operate within a much tighter budget and will be reduced by not having meetings concerned with EUnet.

The Purpose of EurOpen

Primarily EurOpen exists as a human network, a means by which users from all over Europe can meet to exchange information and ideas, providing a background against which National Groups can survive and thrive. It gives the strength necessary to have a users voice heard in a political context and subsidises and legitimises the voice of individuals who attempt to speak for the users.

At present EurOpen is vulnerable because of waning interest in UNIX, on which the Group was founded. Also because membership is based on a few National Groups paying big amounts, rather than many individuals paying smaller amounts, only one or two resignations could leave it financially exposed.

It might be possible of course, to take more than one Group per country into membership, or to invite Internet Societies to join, but without branching out in this way, it is difficult to see how the membership base itself could be enlarged. Such decisions are for the Governing Board, and hopefully its members Board are already thinking about what can be done.

Practical Plans

Conferences and events can be continued on a smaller scale. For example, Rik Farrow Seminars are being planned for October in Romania and Iceland.

The COSE meetings planned for 1996 should proceed, possibly later in the year, and a planning meeting for those is being held in March.

The News Sheet and EurOpen Quarterly will continue for the time being and other services such as Certification Authority can be considered.

The ICT Round Table continues under Jean-Michel Cornu.

No doubt some good ideas will come out of the Governing Board Meeting scheduled for 8-9 June 1996 in Prague.

SUUG Open Systems Development And Employment Conference

22-26 April 1996
Moscow, Russia

Conference announcement and call for papers

The scientific programme of the Conference will cover problems connected with fundamental and applied researches for designing and use of the latest information technologies, open systems hardware and open computer networks. The main topics of the Conference include:

*    concepts, models and architecture of open systems;
*    methodology of open systems environment building;
*    basic and functional standards (profiles);
*    open systems projecting technologies and facilities;
*    inter-operable information systems;
*    information technology standards;
*    certification in open systems;

Concurrently with the SUUG Conference, there will be a small Exhibition presenting hardware and software solutions for open systems.

The Conference will be held during the same week as COMTEK '96 exhibition in Moscow. COMTEK '96 is the biggest yearly computer exhibition in Russia. Coupling these two events will help to promote closer contacts between representatives of the Academy of Science and personnel involved in developing applications in the private sector.

For further information contact: Sergei Kuznetsov via e-mail on kuz@ivann.delta.msk.su .

Tel: 01763 273 475
Fax: 01763 273 255
Web: Webmaster
Queries: Ask Here
Join UKUUG Today!

UKUUG Secretariat