• United States
Managing Editor, Network World Fusion

Linux certification

Jun 05, 20032 mins
Data CenterLinux

* As Linux grows, so do certification programs to validate expertise with the operating system

Open source is gaining a lot of fans these days due to its independence, resourcefulness and, compared to other major NOSes, cost-effectiveness. This week’s Management Strategies story in Network World examines the growing popularity of Linux certifications, a sure sign that Linus Torvalds’ brainchild is gaining critical mass in enterprises.

Say the word “certification” and most people automatically think “Cisco,” “Microsoft” or “Novell.” Note they’re all vendors. While Red Hat offers its program and Novell has included Linux education in its certification process, some of the most popular certifications come from an independent outfit called the Linux Professional Institute (LPI). LPI offers Level 1, 2 and 3 programs, which start with basic administration and graduate up to kernel programming.

What users like about LPI certification is the fact that no one vendor dominates the training, and the tests and training relay heavily on LPI-certified alumni input.

“LPI was borne out of a community development process,” says Evan Leibovitch, LPI’s president. This makes it different from others, he says. “Different automakers don’t give out driver’s licenses for their own cars, and you wouldn’t trust a pharmacist who received an education from a drug company,” he adds.

Instead of being dictated by a vendor, the program is developed through in-depth surveys sent to IT professionals who use Linux. Vendors and experts in the open source community also contribute their thoughts. This approach is appealing to many, as LPI has given 20,000 tests since its beginnings in 2000. Around 7,000 people are LPI certified.

While certification is a somewhat controversial issue in IT, many Linux fans say it’s a good idea in this case. Because many people learn Linux in their spare time on a spare server, certification can offer a proven base of knowledge.

Get more information and opinions on Linux certification by reading this week’s Management Strategies in its entirety: