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Two Years Ago - the birth of the Linux Professional Institute (LPI)

By Dan York

Two Years Ago...

Two years ago, in the October 1998 Linux Gazette, there appeared a brief article that started part of a process underway that I do not believe any of us had any idea would go as far as it has.

As I mentioned in my article last October, my original article outlined the reasons why I felt a professional certification program would benefit Linux. It concluded with several questions and asked how I could join in the discussion:

If you agree that a certification program can be beneficial for the growth of Linux, how do we as a community go about addressing the points I made above about creating a certification program? Do we create another mailing-list or newsgroup? (Does such a group or list already exist? If so, I have so far failed to find it.) Do we meet at a conference? ...

...I don't necessarily have the answers - but I would like to participate in the discussion. If someone can suggest the appropriate forum in which this discussion should take place (or is currently taking place!), please let me know.

Two years ago, we had no idea that what we were beginning would become the Linux Professional Institute. We had no clue of the tremendous support we would receive not only from members of the Linux community, but also from the larger IT, training and publishing communities. Nor did we know of the significant financial support we would receive. We had no idea how incredibly expensive all of this would be to pull of. Nor did we know how significantly LPI would change some of our lives.

And yet... two years later, we have deployed the two exams of Level 1. As I write this, the exams are completing the final stages of the incredibly long and comprehensive process that is involved with our efforts. And our approach of NOT endorsing or approving any single way of preparing for our exams has paid off with many different ways for people to prepare for our exams.

There are so many people to thank that it is next to impossible to even begin to list them all. We have tried with web pages thanking people who have assisted us in 1999 and 2000, but even those lists fall short. I would refer you to the articles listed below to understand both what we have gone through and also who should be thanked. We have been extremely grateful for all the support of people within the Linux community and also within the larger IT world. We would also thank the Linux Gazette for providing the forum that helped launch our effort and continued to help get our message out. They, and so many other Linux magazines, journals and web sites have been instrumental in helping the world learn about our program.

LPI began with a fairly simple idea - if there is to be certification for Linux, which the larger IT and training industry pretty much determined would be inevitable, then that certification should be controlled by the actual Linux professionals working with the operating system and not by any one Linux vendor or any publishers or training/courseware providers. Furthermore, candidates should have the freedom to choose how they prepare for the exams, including the option of not taking any classes at all and simply studying the exam objectives. The exams should be available globally and as inexpensively as possible, and should use standard industry practices to ensure that the exams are legally defensible, statistically-valid and able to stand equal or better than other existing IT certifications.

It's been a very long road with plenty of joyous moments and plenty of rough spots. But working together, we have done it! Yes, there is still a long way yet to go, and there is much ahead for us to do. There are many more challenges ahead, and we will need the active support and participation of many more people to meet those challenges (please contact Wilma Silbermann <> if you would like to volunteer). We will need help in many different areas... we will need new people providing leadership... we will need new financial sponsors... we will need more people to write and speak about LPI. But based on what I have seen in the past two years, I am more confident than ever that we will continue to build LPI to be a premier certification program.

Yet on this October day, I believe we should take this moment to pause, sit back and appreciate all that has been done by so many different people. We thank everyone who has been involved for your past and continued support and look forward to continuing to work with you all to move this program on to even greater heights!

And so much of it began here, with a little article and, most importantly, all of the people who responded back to say that they, too, wanted to help...

Previous ``Linux Certification'' Columns

by Dan York
Linux Certification Part #1, October 1998
Linux Certification Part #2, November 1998
Linux Certification Part #3, December 1998
Linux Certification Part #4, February 1999
Linux Certification Part #5, Mid-April 1999
Linux Certification Part #6, July 1999
Linux Certification Part #7, October 1999

by Ray Ferrari
Linux Certification Part #8, February 2000
Linux Certification Part #9, June 2000
Linux Certification Part #10, September 2000

Copyright © 2000, Dan York
Published in Issue 58 of Linux Gazette, October 2000

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