There’s an old African saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” In the world of cyberspace, the Linux operating system is rather like a child which had been raised by a great many loving hands. And Linux certification is the process of ensuring that the loving hands which continue to work with Linux know what they are doing.
Linux came into being in the during the 1990s as the brain child of Linus Torvald, who wanted a cheap operating system for his personal computer with which he could tinker at will. The Linux kernel, named supposedly from a combination of “Linus” and “Unix,” was soon disseminated over the Internet to kindred spirits who were glad to be the village which would assist in raising Torvald’s brain child.
Soon enough the Linux kernel had become the operating system for free GNU software, and MIT’s X Window System, so that it had graphic capabilities. With the addition of the Apache web server and a few other bells and whistles, Linux had become a very respectable operating system indeed.
The embellishments just kept on coming, and Linux was eventually packaged and distributed in various forms either via the Internet or on CDs. Red Hat and Caldera Systems are just two of many Linux distributors. The development of Linux has continued so that it can now manage hardware ranging from antiquated 386 to IBM mainframes, and Mac systems as well.
But because the village responsible for rearing Linux to it present level of maturity is really more of a megalopolis, there is no one entity to whom Linux users can turn for answers to their problems. The solution to this lack of a single set of parents? Linux certification.
Linux certification programs, like the Linux operating system itself, have been developed by many different IT companies to provide the IT world with a battalion of proven Linux experts. And again like the Linux operating system, Linux certification standards have not been set by a single company.
There are instead Linux certification programs run by companies which distribute the Linux operating system, and Linux certification programs run by companies which do not distribute it. But all of the certification programs, whether they specialize in basic or advanced Linux training, are designed to provide Linux administration expertise.
Novell and Red Hat are generally credited with offering the most accurate and state-of-the-art Linux certification programs; the Linux Professional Institute and Computing technology Industry Association have Linux certification programs as well. All the Linux certification programs require their participants to pass a certification exam, and while Linux can be self-taught, having access to actual Linux software in a classroom situation, under the guidance of a certified Linux expert, is the closest thing to a real-world situation.
Linux has taken definitely taken its place among the accepted operating systems. In 2004, in fact, IDC of Framingham, MA, estimated that by 2008 Linux would have doubled its revenues from $15 billion to $35 billion. Those IT professionals who have received Linux certification, it appears, will never have to worry about looking for work!