[lpi-discuss] Re: Certification v. Non-Certification Training -- WAS: LPIC-1/2 training

Bryan J. Smith b.j.smith at ieee.org
Mon Jul 26 03:02:25 EDT 2004

On Mon, 2004-07-26 at 02:26, enigma at riddlefixer.com wrote:
> Just had to chime in here :)
> I have mixed feelings about non-real world training.
> Who does it really benefit?

Well, that's a larger issue.  But the problem is that many companies use
IT certifications as a "measuring stick."  So most training surrounds
certification these days.  It's sad, but if someone cares about that
sheet of paper and you can't prove to them otherwise, then you have to
play the stupid game.

Even if the end-department doesn't give a damn about certification,
sometimes the company's HR department uses them as "filters."  I know, I
ran into this over and over again from 2000 on-ward.  That's when I
finally went out and got just about every certification I could find.  I
typically did spurts of 4 per month, while working a full-time job (no
time off, etc...).  Not because I believed in them, but because I didn't
want anyone to have an excuse not to hire me.

Today I'd put my cert logos on a sheet of paper and put a big disclaimer
at the bottom that basically reads, "these don't mean crap without

But the LPI program is very well designed.  Part of the reason is their
certification program isn't about "pushing product" which most are. 

Cisco and Red Hat have admirable vendor efforts with their lab-based
testing (CCIE in th case of Cisco), which is _rare_ these days for
vendors.  Novell is also tolerable, with notables like the CDE/CLE.  But
both Cisco and Novell's lesser exams are not worth much IMHO -- even if
others put all the faith in them (e.g., CCNA = _joke_).

> Those thinking they want to cram to get LPIC 1&2 certified and have not 
> spent 2-5 years working with Linux, please think twice ;)


It really erks me when you see Linux+ and LPIC-1 in the same breathe*.
Too many IT magazines* keep saying the two are equivalent when they are
_not_ even close!  Even CompTIA's President publicly stated that the
LPIC-1 was well beyond Linux+.

[*NOTE:  That was _not_ a shot at Ross' training partner.  I've seen
this attitude everywhere from CertCities.COM to Ziff-Davis publications.

> Instead, take Bryan's Gentoo and Linux From Scratch courses and get
> Linux solving all your own problems.

Just FYI, all we've developed are LPI/SuSE and LPI/Red Hat tracks.  But
we do custom development for anyone who wants it.  I've been trying to
find clients who want to more LFS/Gentoo track.

The LFS/Gentoo idea is really sprawling out from my IPCop work.  IPCop
1.4.0 (currently in beta) is based on LFS.  I'm trying to find out if
more engineering/embedded companies would be interested in it, but I'm
finding little interest in the US.

I'd love to make some other announcements but I can't yet.  In a few
months you'll know why.

> Then review the LPIC objectives and breeze through the exams :)

That's what I did "cold turkey."

> Can't afford that kind of training?  Get a group together at your local
> LUG and dive in!

If you're in Orlando, I'm at my local LUG's InstallFests all the time. 
I'm always helping people, have since 1994 at my local universities'

I've been implementing Linux as not only a server solution, but a
workstation/desktop since the mid-'90s, especially the latter '90s.  I
was involved with some of the very first ports of key CAM
(mechanical/aerospace) and EDA (eletronics/semiconductor) engineering
software from Irix/Solaris to Linux.

My knowledge come from corporate, production usage for a good 6 solid
years (plus all the years before and during as an advocate/personal
preference).  I was there not only fighting the Windows bigots, but the
Solaris ones too.  At the same time, I've also been one to concede many
capabilities in various Linux versions to other platforms in the earlier
days (e.g., NFS service was clearly better coming from NetApp and
Solaris platforms than Linux prior to 2001/2.4 kernel).

> After you have done LFS and Gentoo a few times, you will have a greater
> understanding of Linux, distributions, and the factors you need to
> understand in order to create real world solutions using Linux.  Greater
> than if you just study to pass an exam anyway ;)

I'm just an engineer.  I came onto Linux from two directions -- one was
Apache (CERN before that) which I already did on Solaris (and SCO when
people wouldn't use anything but x86), the other was GCC for
mission-critical aerospace avonics development.  NASA pioneered the
latter with Pathfinder, and the rest of us in the aerospace industry
gobbled it up for everything.

I was reducing and interpreting PAC-3 (Patriot Advanced Capability)
telemetry data 6-7 years before PAC-3 was toasting SCUDs in the most
recent Iraqi War.  All with Freedomware software and tools running
largely on Linux (recently transitioned off of SCO).

That's when the Linux desktop came reality for us engineers -- and that
was *7* years ago!

> Okay, maybe you are a veteran and don't want to waste your time ramping.
> Hey, do it anyway!  If you know your stuff, it won't take you long and
> you will have a lot of fun doing it. :)


I really hate it when people in various LUGs say I'm "smart."  I'm not.
A traditional engineering doesn't mean you're smart either.

It's just the reality that I've been using near-100% for over 7 years,
and over 50% for a good decade now.  When you use it that much, you tend
to learn a bit.

That's all it takes, using it day in and day out for _all_
functionality.  Having a background in SunOS/Solaris before that doesn't
hurt either -- there is a "Terminology Barrier" between UNIX-Windows

     Linux Enthusiasts call me anti-Linux.
   Windows Enthusisats call me anti-Microsoft.
 They both must be correct because I have over a
decade of experience with both in mission critical
environments, resulting in a bigotry dedicated to
 mitigating risk and focusing on technologies ...
           not products or vendors
Bryan J. Smith, E.I.            b.j.smith at ieee.org

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