Linuxcon 2011 - Interlude 2 - Linux Certification
Saturday, August 20 2011 @ 02:01 PM PDT
Contributed by: Richard Pitt
At the VIP gathering after the sessions on Thursday, I spent some time talking to Jim Lacey (CEO) and Darrell Flewell (CFO) of the Linux Professional Institute.
As one of the "old timers" around Unix and Linux system administration and setup, I have to say that I've never felt the need to show a piece of paper that "proved" I know what I know, but do agree that as long as the certifications are not watered down like we agreed the MCE has been, they can provide an indication of some level of achievement to prospective employers and also a measure of reassurance to current employers that the employee is moving up their skill set.
That being said, the conversation turned to LPI's recent move to broaden the base of their testing and activities.
Jim and Darrell had been talking to Dave Täht as I'd stood in the background listening. They'd been talking about the challenges of teaching school-age kids about open source and Linux with Dave providing some personal insights into course material he'd put together.
When Dave left to get another drink, I introduced myself and the conversation continued in the vein of what LPI might next get into.
Here I made the point that a promising area is purchasing agents. My cousin, Marian, is staying with us (helping with pre-sale renovations of the house) and in conversations with her over the years I've heard all manner of stories from that side of the fence. In addition, since I've been a salesman and dealt with purchasing departments and agencies back in hardware days, and now deal with them on contract administration and design work, I have my own ideas of whether or not those I deal with have any idea of what is going on in the open source area; with "not much" being typical.
I put forward the concept that a certification in purchasing open source in general and Linux-based products in specific (that brought up the blinder of "Linux" in their name but that's another topic) could be not only profitable for the institute, but good for the industry in general.
Linux has finally made its way into some government, and at least by the back door of the IT departments, it has made its way into big business - but it still does not really get the desktop portion of purchases; that goes typically to Microsoft or Apple as they are "real products."
With the onrush of Android the tide is turning in at least one area, but it would be nice if the purchasing people really had a good handle on how to do their own Return On Investment calculations regarding open source instead of relying on the less than unbiased "studies" typically funded by the likes of Microsoft or one of its many supported agencies and friends.
If nothing else, I think this one conversation was my own big win for the conference. It opens up all manner of avenues that really need to be pushed.