When a heavyweight like IBM supports Linux from thin client up to the S/390 enterprise server, and vendors like SAP and Oracle are porting their software to Linux, then it's clear Linux has achieved credibility status. Along with this status comes education and certification that demonstrates a person has the capabilities of a qualified Linux proponent. Education of the corporate market is also needed before Linux can reach a critical mass.
Charles Hogson, managing director of Scirocco, said, "Propeller heads' already know Linux and now we need to educate the corporate decision-makers about Linux and what it can do, especially in the Web area. We tailor-make courses for customers and the courses are entirely dependent on what they want to do. I see the momentum for training in Linux building up in the next three months, but it is early days yet."
Tales from the tutorials
Linux is acknowledged as the world where propeller heads' are in their element, but even they can learn some new tricks. RedHat has recently introduced a number of Linux courses in Australia, one of which leads to Linux certification.
Ed Lenta, sales and marketing manager for LinuxPlaza in Sydney, sent two of his engineers to the RedHat certification course and was pleasantly surprised at the information gleaned from the course. "They certainly were not green when they did the course, and they had significant experience with RedHat and other Linux systems before they started.
"They have come out with Linux certification, which will give them the confidence in their own capabilities to troubleshoot for our clients, and, in turn, certification is a confidence-booster in our customers' eyes. LinuxPlaza runs a Web site where it provides, among other things, resources and support. It is imperative we have engineers who are properly skilled at the back end to provide this support."
The Australian Unix Users Group (AUUG) conference on at the end of June will have a strong Linux component and includes a number of tuto-rials. Frank Crawford, program chair for the conference and systems support manager at Australian Nuclear Science Technology Organisation (ANSTO), nominated two tutorials as must-attends. They are the net filter modules by the author of Advanced Firewall for Linux, Paul Russell, and the paper by the chief technical officer of SuSe, Dirk Hohndel.
Crawford said, "ANSTO uses Linux and says the use of Linux is growing rapidly from the bottom up into the commercial world."
While not wholeheartedly endorsing the RedHat certification, Crawford said, "The program looks pretty good." The RedHat certification takes five days in all, with four days of intensive study followed by a closed book examination to demonstrate what you can do with Linux on live equipment. The certification costs $3395 and includes the examination.
Mark White, managing director for RedHat (Asia Pacific operations), said, "The certification is equivalent to a Microsoft Systems Certified Engineer (MSCE) and was instigated in response to demand from Linux developers."
SmartForce provides online training programs in Linux. SmartForce's e-learning offerings for the Linux open source operating system curriculum will support the Linux certification paths being defined by the Linux Professional Institute (LPI), the leading vendor-neutral Linux certification organisation, as well as RedHat's RHCE Linux certification.
Brian Kelly, general manager of SmartForce Australia, said, "The e-learning Linux courses will help system administrators and technical users with current content to develop and enhance skills necessary to meet the growing need of Linux professionals."
A variety of other learning events for Linux include streaming media SmartSeminars; online 24-hour 7-day access to mentoring by subject matter experts; and articles and white papers from SmartForce. SGI will customise and deliver courses on site for customers and is in the process of extending its Linux curriculum. In the pipeline are Building and Securing Your Internet Presence on Linux, Firewalls and Perimeter Networks Using Linux, and Web Hosting on Linux using Apache. on course