Novell offers new certifications for Linux services

Less than a month after acquiring SuSE AG, Novell Inc. has rolled out two professional certification courses for the Linux user — the Certified Linux Engineer (CLE) and the SuSE Linux Certified Professional (SLCP) programs.

The CLE course is designed to teach users to be experts on Novell’s Nterprise Linux Services — an offering that allows users to manage their Linux network infrastructure. These tools were previously only available on Novell’s NetWare platform. Its components include: personal file management; directory services; print services; Internet messaging and calendaring; system management and Web experience. It supports both SuSE and Red Hat Inc.’s Linux distributions.

Michele Allen, manager of training services at Novell Canada in Markham, Ont., said the CLE is a five-day, hands-on course where students learn how to install, configure and troubleshoot Novell’s Nterprise Linux Services. The classes are led by instructors — students receive a textbook, view presentations and participate in lab exercises.

“We focus on hands-on in all of our courses so students will get much hands-on preparation for the exam,” she said. The exam is a practicum consisting of randomly selected scenarios which requires students to resolve a problem or process in a limited amount of time, the company said.

Since the CLE course demands that users already have a good understanding of Linux, Allen recommended that students have a base-level of knowledge comparable with the skills tested in the Linux Professional Institute’s (LPI) Certification Level One (LPIC-1).

The LPI is a vendor-independent organization based in Brampton, Ont., which provides standard certification for the Linux kernel. The only Linux company not supporting the project is Red Hat, which offers its own Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) and Red Hat Certified Technician (RHCT) programs.

To obtain the LPIC-1, or Junior Level Administrator, students must be able to work at the Linux command line and perform easy maintenance tasks including helping out users, adding users to a larger system, backing up and restoring data, plus shutting down and rebooting. Other skills required include the ability to install and configure a workstation and connect it to a LAN, or a stand-alone PC via modem to the Internet.

In addition, Linux professionals wishing to be certified as a SCLP — Novell’s other Linux certification program — must also have skills associated with the LPIC-1. The SCLP takes knowledge further, testing candidates on components specific to SuSE enterprise Linux, including Yet another Setup Tool (YaST) — SuSE’s installation and system management tool — and the CUPS print server.

Evan Leibovitch, president of the LPI in Brampton, said he is delighted Novell, based in Waltham, Mass., has rolled out these courses.

“This is exactly the kind of [training] model we have been hoping for — that we would have companies like Novell and SuSE that would participate in a core community project to create a core certification rather than everybody just reinvent the wheel, like they did in the Unix base,” he said, adding that it makes more sense for Linux vendors to rely on the LPI for base certification and then just add their own vendor-specific stuff on top.

“They’re saving money because they don’t have to duplicate what we’ve done already,” he explained.

He said Novell isn’t the only company to require LPI certification as a prerequisite for another course. For example, he said IBM Corp. also requires students take an LPI course before completing its E-business certification.

Novell’s CLE course is coming to Canada soon — March 8 in Toronto, and May 10 in Calgary. By March, Novell Canada’s Allen said the courses will be available in Canada through Novell’s training services, which has a presence through third-party providers in all major Canadian cities.

While Novell has already offered the course in 10 U.S. cities, it has yet to test any students. Both the CLE and SCLP tests will be launched at BrainShare 2004 on March 22 in Salt Lake City.

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