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

Alan McKinnon alan.mckinnon at gmail.com
Wed Mar 12 16:39:02 EDT 2008

On Wednesday 12 March 2008, Dimitrios Bogiatzoules, LPI Product 
Developer wrote:
> Alan,
> 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,
> Best regards,
> Taki


Thanks for that Taki :-) It took 4 tries before I got the wording right, 
I had to try real hard to NOT come across as my usual dismissive 
bigoted self, so thanks to everyone who had nice things to say about 
what I wrote.

Scott, if you think what I wrote is worth using by LPI, please go right 
ahead and use it


> 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.

Alan McKinnon
alan dot mckinnon at gmail dot com

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