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[LONG] Debian Certification (Was: Re: Topics for upcoming Debian conferences?)


I have been thinking about Debian Certification for a while and have
come up with a pseudo proposal. I apologise for the length but I feel
that it is a very valid subject. The contents are mostly just my
thoughts and some ideas. I realise that it will need to be debianised a
lot more - I hope that I have provided at least some raw material to
work with and expand on.

I welcome all suggestions to be integrated into this




Microsoft is investing $400 million in India to win over the technology

Linux has no-one who can or wants to spend the kind of amount that would
provide some form of competition.

Mr. Bill Gates claims that winning over India would guarantee his
success over Microsoft's competitors and considering that a lot of
companies rely on technical expertise from India , a lot of people would
agree with him. I personally do not believe that he could win over the
linux market but he could certainly delay the switch and more
importantly take people away from Linux.

I have spent a lot of time in India and have thought about what would
educate them about linux and give Linux and much bigger market
penetration. A majority of Indians, especially from my home state of
Kerala go abroad to work in technology related jobs either to the U.S or
to the gulf and in an endeavor to be able to do that, they go through as
many software certifications as they possibly can. It is not unusual to
find people who have MCSE, can, RHCE and Cisco certifications.

Therefore, In my opinion, the best way to educate and inform the masses
is to introduce them to the power of Linux and in particular Debian
through a certified course – one that parallels the courses provided by
Microsoft and Netware.

I propose that it cover the same areas and have the same levels of
certifications. It should however be cheaper to write the exams. It
would also be beneficial if we could affiliate with some good university
who will say that having done the course would entitle the person who
did it to skip a year in university.

I think the difficulty of the subject matter is mostly irrelevant – it
just has to be well structured and thought out.

I propose that we follow a similar structure to the Microsoft or Netware
certifications so that it is easy for people to grasp how it progresses.
I suppose we would have stuff like DCP (Debian Certified Professional),
DCSE(Debian Certified System Engineer), DCSA(Debian Certified Systems
Administrator) etc.

I can see four major goals to this.

     1. To help make Debian fully standards compliant and maintian the
        compliance thus making it as mainstream as possible.
     2. Extra resources to help fix the bugs and improve the
        distribution and hopefully decrease the release times. There are
        two sources of resources here including any revenue from the
        exams and the people who get interested in the project.
     3. Improve the awareness of Linux and Debian in particular.
     4. Provide training and certification with Linux and Debian in

Details of the course will probably change with each stable release.

There should be three major parts to this endeavor

     1. The Certification Authority(CA) – This committee will decide the
        criteria for the examination, the course structure etc. This
        committee should consist of 10 – 20 well qualified and
        experienced Linux professionals. I would guess that atleast 30%
        should have teaching experience as well.
     2. The Training and Examination Centres. They will set people to
        write the actual papers. The papers will be marked by another
        centre. All question papers will have to be authorised by the
        CA. These organisations will have to pay a registration fee and
        a percentage of the examination proceeds. (Anywhere between 20%
        and 70% I would guess)
     3. Budgetting Committee – This committee will comprise of some
        people from the Standards committee and will concern themselves
        with how to spend the extra cash most efficiently. Major
        Contributions should go into the following areas
             1. Improving and marketing the Certifications themselves
             2. Standardising and marketing Debian itself and
             3. Improving Debian and decreasing release times.
Some funds should also be spent on helping users ease the transition
from Windows.

I would think that there should also be conversion courses for people
who have done MCSE, CNA etc. and wish to transfer their skills to Linux.
The number of exams should decrease since the theoretical parts should
already be completed (networking etc) and the exams would focus more on
problem solving – applying their Knowledge and Understanding to the
Linux environment.

With regards to them getting the software, I realise that all the
software is free. However, this is mostly irrelevant in India where
software costs per cd – irrespective o whats in it.

Being able to download everything would be a plus but most people only
have dial-up. The Training and examination centres will have to
distribute free or very cheap CD's so people can get the softwar easier.

We will also need selling points over red hat and market them. One of
them should be that the certification course is more thorough and of
course apt.


Shri Shrikumar             U R Byte Solutions
I.T. Consultant            Edinburgh, Scotland     Tel: 0845 644 4745
Email: shri@urbyte.com                             Web: www.urbyte.com

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