John Steinbeck wrote that Texas is "… a mystique closely approximating a religion. And this is true to the extent that people either passionately love Texas or passionately hate it and, as in other religions, few people dare to inspect it for fear of losing their bearings in mystery and paradox.”
All of which has little to do with what I want to write about here, but, heck, why waste a good Steinbeck quote?
I was privileged to have been invited to speak at the Texas IPv6 Task Force’s annual summit last week, and while there had a nice discussion with Stan Barber, one of its founders. As one of the founders of the Rocky Mountain IPv6 Task Force, I was interested in comparing notes on the similarities and differences between our organizations. In particular, I wanted to talk about our respective missions.
While the RMv6TF has always had its annual summits in Denver, the TXv6TF is a traveling event. Its first summit was in Houston, last year it was in Dallas, this year in Austin. Stan tells me that next year it will probably be back in Houston.
And where the RMv6TF summit has grown from its first year as a one-day free seminar run entirely by volunteers to a multiday paid event using a professional event coordinator, the Texas summit has remained a small, one-day, free event relying on volunteers and corporate sponsors. And this reflects some differences in our two missions.
When we formed the RMv6TF, we were targeting a number of audiences along the Rocky Mountains from Wyoming through Colorado to southern New Mexico: federal agencies; military bases; federal research labs like Los Alamos, Sandia and White Sands; and numerous universities. We decided to base our annual event in Denver because of the presence there of so many carriers and service providers, another group with strong interest in IPv6.
Many of the same kinds of groups exist in Texas, and the TXv6TF certainly serves them, but I see a strong focus on enterprises in the Texas summit. And that accounts partly for the more mobile venues there. Stan Barber sees the mission of the TXv6TF as one of outreach, and that means going to where the audience is.
There are other venues for IPv6 interest groups. A number of companies such as Cisco and Google have hosted implementer conferences; gogo6 (formerly Hexago) is running a seminar this fall; the IPv6 World Congress in Paris every February and the Global IPv6 Summit in Beijing every April attract many of the leading IPv6 technologists in the world.
And that brings me to the wider point of this article: There is a need for IPv6 advocacy groups in many regions of the United States (the Southeast and the Pacific Northwest come to mind), and certainly in many other countries. If you are interested in starting an IPv6 task force, Stan Barber or myself or many people in our parent organization, the North American IPv6 Task Force, will be happy to provide advice on getting started.
You might also consider forming a more limited group within your organization. Whether you choose to call it a task force, a working group or an IPv6 planning committee, or if you are simply organizing IPv6 brown bag sessions, it is an opportunity to share information, conduct training and bring in outside resources to talk about their experiences.
IPv6 is happening, worldwide. Interest groups of all sizes are needed to help spread knowledge and best practices about the implementation projects we will all eventually face.