Linux Professional Institute and UnitedLinux announced at LinuxWorld that they are working together to produce two certifications specific to UnitedLinux. The exams do not change the status of LPI as a vendor-neutral certification, says Evan Leibovitch.Leibovitch says that the exams, which will sit on top of the standard LPI 100 and 200 series, belong to UnitedLinux, although they are being created with input from LPI.
Additionally, says Leibovitch, if other distributions would like to create a specialty certification with LPI they are welcome to come forward with that desire. Apparently, LPI is already in talks with one other undisclosed Linux distribution for just that sort of thing.
The tests for UnitedLinux are still in development, and other details such as cost and availability have not been determined yet. Leibovitch says that UnitedLinux will be able to take advantage of LPI's distribution channels, including the global network of VUE and Thomson Prometric testing centers.
Since LPI provides certification testing at most major Linux-related functions, like LinuxWorld Expo, Leibovitch says that it is possible that the UnitedLinux certifications will be available as well. "Obviously, if it is a Debian developer's conference that wouldn't really work," he says, but if the venue is suitable it is likely that the UnitedLinux track will be available.
One nice thing about the addons, says Leibovitch, is that people who have already received the LPI certifications will be able to simply take the UL specific exams in order to receive the UnitedLinux Certified Professional (ULCP) certification (100 series) or the UnitedLinux Certified Expert (ULCE) certification (200 series).
So, does the possibility of several different specialized certifications mean that the LPI certification by itself is lacking? No, says Leibovitch. Testing on distribution-specific features, like YaST, would have no place in a truly vendor-neutral Linux certification like LPI. "Anyone who passes the LPI exams is qualified" as a Linux professional on any distribution.
LPI will be at the upcoming Desktop Linux Summit in San Diego, February 20-21 2003, but according to Leibovitch, no exams will be conducted at that time.