[lpi-discuss] LPI, Novell, and SUSE

ross e. brunson ross at brunson.org
Sun Jul 10 18:07:08 EDT 2005

On Mon, 2005-07-04 at 13:22 +0200, Anselm Lingnau wrote:
> Kevin Rorke wrote:
> > Does this mean that the LPI exams have less relevance than before as far as
> > Novell are concerned? It seems to me to represent something of a move away
> > from the LPI exams, which I find a bit contradictory, given that Novell are
> > platinum partners/sponsers of LPI (and correct me if I'm mistaken here).
> >
> > Another thing that crossed my mind is: could this also represent a move by
> > Novell away from the distribution-agnostic LPI ethos to a SUSE-centric
> > certification path?
> It is difficult to say for sure but the Novell position, as far as we can tell 
> from discussions with Novell people, is that they consider the Novell 
> certifications more suitable for people who work with SUSE distributions (in 
> particular, the enterprise-level products). 

Right, as do almost all other vendors who have their own distribution,
at least those with a significant market penetration.

> The main selling point is that 
> the CLP certification covers much more ground than the other entry-level 
> certifications (LPIC-1, RHCT), thus must be better. Mostly this is the case 
> if you tick off various server-side things such as Postfix and Apache, which 
> do not really come up in LPIC-1 (nor in RHCT, I'm told) but which the 
> official Novell training materials teach in a perfunctory, YaST-based 
> click-here click-there manner. 

Those materials, which I was somewhat involved in producing do not just
"teach in a perfunctory, YaST-based click-here click-there manner." as
you state above.  Universally, the SLES materials use both the YAST and
command line in equal portions, it's an internal mandate that both be
there and work properly.

> I'm told that the practicum exam may go into 
> these in some considerable detail. What the Novell CLP course material is 
> missing vis-à-vis LPIC-1 is much of the command-line stuff, but the exam does 
> seem to require some shell scripting etc. 

You need to look at the 3036/3037/3038 courses again.  Most of the
beginning CLI stuff is in the 3036 course, but it is true that the
individual commands are not focused on as they are in the LPI
objectives.  Considering that LPI doesn't *HAVE* courseware (and
shouldn't) comparing SLES courseware to the LPI Objectives is apples and

> The exam, incidentally, is 
> delivered over the Web by giving you VNC access to a couple of (VMware-based) 
> SLES machines.

True, and I've personally proctored over 500 exams for attendees of this
exam, and very few who could really do the tasks failed, and most who
were fuzzy on how things were configured in the real world failed.  It's
a good exam, and because it's long (2.5 hours) and there are a lot of
objectives, it covers a goodly set of topics.

The key is that the entirety of the exam objectives are possible as exam
items in the 2.5 hours of work you'll be doing, so it really forces the
attendee to make certain they are up on how things are done for all the

> They still seem to support the idea that LPI is a good thing in the abstract, 
> just that CLP is better as far as their systems are concerned. 

Yeah, and what's wrong with that?  I've always thought Red Hat had the
right to make their own exams for thier version of Linux, anyone can do
this, it's just a matter of do they also support the vendor-neutral
space?  Novell does.

> One point of 
> criticism is that the LPI objectives diverge a lot from what you would find 
> on a SLES system (Postfix instead of Sendmail, CUPS instead of Berkeley LPD, 
> and so on), and that it is easier to come up with a whole new certification 
> path (something that Novell does have some experience with) 

Having almost single-handedly invented the whole certification thing,
yes they do have a certain amount of experience...  (I constantly tell
the cert folks that it's not what they DID, it's what value they ADD
TODAY and ONGOING that makes what they do valid.)

> rather than get 
> LPIC fixed. More cynically, one might surmise that Novell isn't used to 
> situations where the tail (a small community-based non-profit in Canada) wags 
> the dog (a multi-$$$ US company) as far as what should or should not be part 
> of a Linux certification, and how it should work (remember that a 
> certification business does generate a nice wad of cash on the side, and even 
> more so if you're the only entity that does the certifying, publishing of 
> official training materials, and so on, and so on. $800 for a self-study kit? 
> Yes sir!!).

That's pretty cynical, and faintly socialistic in tone.  Have you priced
the self-study kits for other certifications?  You'll find that the kit
includes a complete classroom in a box experience for a cost that is
less than a single 3 day class, when the entire certification track is
nearly 3 weeks long.  

Co-incidentally, that's how we make money on Free Software, put out an
enhancment or value-add and people purchase it.  If it's not a good
product, then people don't buy it.  Last I checked, (very recently) kit
sales are booming and I get a constant trickle of emails and comments in
class that the kits are very useful.

> Don't get me started on the sheer chutzpah of Novell calling their certificate 
> the »Certified Linux Professional« (rather than »Novell Certified Linux 
> Professional«, the way RH and LPI do it) -- 

Ok, now you're just flat wrong.  Look at the Novell site, actually look
for the instances where the "CLP" as you call it is mentioned, and in
nearly every case, and certainly in the cases where it's a header or
used, for lack of a better phrase, as a proper noun, and you'll find it
is called the "Novell Certified Linux Professional" certification.

Don't get me started on all the companies and organizations that mis-use
the word Linux in thier titles, or proclaim themselves spokes-penguins
when they really don't speak for that many people.

> I wonder who went away and put 
> them in charge of Linux? I think this says more about Novell's take on the 
> Linux market than all of their marketing speak combined.
> Anselm
> (This is my personal opinion and not that of Linup Front GmbH.)

It's been a pleasure setting some of these things straight, as I said in
a previous email, I work for Novell, but I am firmly and staunchly a
member of the LPI community.  Part of my job from the first day has been
to continue to contribute to the community, with Novell's blessing and


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