More than twenty years have passed since GNU/Linux was born, and more than twenty five since the GNU manifesto by Richard Stallman. Free Software has become widely used in the industry and has been successfully introduced in many Computer Science Department syllabi’s all over the globe. But the Bachelor degree achieved by studying Computer Science not the one of Linux Administrator or Free Software Programmer. While Free Software specific MSc programmes exist, scientific research with its focus on publication, study and review is rather different than the required skills of application of technical knowledge in the business world.
Meanwhile, Free Software communities, born from the ashes of late 80s hacker communities, had the character of social movement. They attracted people from various social, economic, science sectors. Many of them, realizing the potential of Linux and its momentum, created a new generation of university dropouts. But their skills, even if they had tremendous knowledge of computer systems and networks, were undocumented and hard to prove in a ‘HR department-compattible’ way.
Introducing the Linux Professional Institute
These were the reasons creating the need of certification in GNU/Linux. In 1999, in the midst of dot com bubble and just eight years after the first Linux Kernel came out, the Linux Professional Institute was founded to fill this gap in Free Software and networking professionalism. The great adoption of the LAMP stack by web servers during the dot com run led to high demand for Linux technicians, no matter if they were graduated or not. But employers are always happy having someone with proven knowledge of her skills, if not for them, than to prove to their customers that they employ skilled workers.
Having the LPI as vendor-neutral GNU/Linux certification helped make this proof of knowledge widely available. No matter what distribution the corporate server room runs or what is available in on the desktops in the cubicles, the LPI Certified professional is always capable of offering a solution fitting to the requirements.
LPI collaboration with SUSE
Regardless of how fanatic we in the Free and Open Source world can be, calling-writing-arguing on terms like Free Software, Open Source, Linux or GNU/Linux, the painful truth is that there are not many widely used distributions which sport an enterprise solution besides the ‘community version’, a place in computer history and the resulting reputation - bringing a certification to the table.
Actually, there are only two, one of them being SUSE. With roots in Slackware, SUSE has a dominant place in Linux distribution market but also a large piece of Linux Desktop & Server pies. For this reasons, LPI and then-Novell committed in 2010 on a still on-going partnership for granting SUSE Certified Linux Administrator (CLA) certification at no additional cost or exams to holders of LPIC-1. To further support this initiative SUSE Training Services has formally agreed to include the required LPIC-1 learning objectives in its CLA course training material, making this process work the other way around as well.
Many people, after using SUSE and openSUSE, became dedicated users and later determined to continue this path professionally. In this context the LPIC 1 - SUSE CLA partnership is very important because is the first step of the certification path at SUSE. Having a full certification from LPI and one of the main Linux vendors, be it SUSE or Red Hat, is an important mark in the market place as professional specialization is what market needs today.
LPI at oSC
If you are a dedicated SUSE or openSUSE user - power user - admin - magician, you should consider getting LPIC 1 certified. It might be the first step to a more successful career in Free Software. The upcoming openSUSE Conference in Greece will feature a LPI Exam room, where you can take your test and get going with these professional certifications. See the oSC LPI page for more details. There will also be a session by Konstantinos Boukouvalas on the subject of Linux certification. Be there, it’s a great place to start your Linux career!
Article contributed by Konstantinos Boukouvalas, Operations Manager LPI MA Greece