[lpi-discuss] Vendor-neutral certification: pro v.s. con

Dimitrios Bogiatzoules, LPI Product Developer dbogiatzoules at lpi.org
Wed Mar 12 15:22:57 EDT 2008


I'm biased, but that was a very, very fine essay about vendor neutrality...

@Scott: Alan's last sentence is worth to be used on LPI's website, IMHO.

Best regards,


Alan McKinnon said the following on 11.03.2008 22:19:
> To my mind, this is a no-brainer question. Vendor-neutral Linux 
> certifications are a necessity, vendor-specific certifications are a 
> luxury.
> I hold current RHCE and LPI certs, I have authored and designed 
> LPI-aligned courseware and courses, and delivered them. In my current 
> day job I deliver RHCE courses as part of my duties.
> I can attest that the vendor-specific courses and certification 
> concentrates in large degree on *how* something is done on that 
> vendor's system and the reason why the software works that way is a 
> secondary item. The vendor is interested in checking if the candidate 
> can do specific actions the way they were designed to be done.
> LPI exams are different. Because they are not aligned to a specific 
> vendor, what gets examined is the upstream defaults. There is an 
> obvious focus on why a piece of software works the way it does, what is 
> correct usage and what is incorrect. Thus, the candidate is tested n 
> their understanding of how the system works as a whole.
> This is not to say that vendor-specific certifications are without 
> value, that is not true. They are indeed valuable. But if all current 
> Linux vendors with certification programs were to disappear tomorrow, 
> Linux itself would still exist, life would continue and the industry 
> would still need to be able to measure the skills of administrators in 
> general.
> I have heard the argument that Red Hat's certification for example does 
> not tell you much about someone's prowess when confronted with SuSE, or 
> Debian or Slackware. I do not agree with this viewpoint as a Linux 
> administrator is daily called on to learn new things. Even when using 
> only Red Hat Linux he/she will often need to pick up new skills that 
> are not covered in the Red Hat exams. This is no different really from 
> moving to SuSE from Red Hat - new software, new skills.
> The real difference is as I have mentioned above - the type of testing 
> that is done in each class of certification:
> Vendor-specific certifications test the *how*. Vendor-neutral 
> certifications test the *why* and are thus more fundamental.

Dimitrios Bogiatzoules
Product Developer
Linux Professional Institute
E-Mail: dbogiatzoules at lpi.org
Web: http://www.lpi.org
GnuPG Key ID  A7E4D183

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