“No, we have to decide who is supposed to get it after we receive the email,” the Thomson representative said. When pressed, she said that the reason it is so difficult to get in touch with a real person is that they are not sure what they’re going to do with SAIR.
NewsForge never received a response to that inquiry. Likewise, it was difficult at first to get a response through the organization that the SAIR website points visitors to: the Linux Professional Group.
“Sair Linux and GNU Certification has moved to Houston, Texas and has been integrated into Linux Professional Group. Linux Professional Group is developing, promoting and managing the SAIR Linux GNU certification. SAIR Linux curriculum is available exclusively through Course Technology, Thomson at 1-800-648-7450 x8269. For all other information and requests, please email us at email@example.com or call us toll-free at (866) OK-LINUX.”
We called the toll-free number and asked for the media relations department.
“I handle that,” said the lady who answered the phone. I gave her my spiel, asking for statistics on pass/fail ratios, the number of people certified with SAIR, employment figures, etc. “Oh, I don’t have that information,” she said. “Let me give you the email address of the president.”
“Can you give me his phone number?” I asked, remembering the recent “firstname.lastname@example.org” snub. She insisted that she could not, but that if I sent my questions in email format to one Bill Patton, that he would respond in a day or so.
Making a mental note that the people who had told me that SAIR was toast were probably right, I took down the email address, formatted the questions, and sent them. Waited over a week for a response; called again and walked through almost exactly the same conversation with the same person. When she got to the part about emailing the president, I called her on it. “OK,” she said, “email the questions to me and I will find the answers and get back to you by tomorrow noon.”
Lo and behold, I get a phone call at about 5:10pm that same day from Bill Patton, the head man at the mysterious Linux Professional Group, who wants to answer my questions about SAIR.
“We have about 5000 people certified, including Linux Certified Administrators, Linux Certified Professionals, Linux Certified Engineers, and Master Linux Certified Engineers,” says Patton. He adds that the pass/fail ratio for the first level exams is 60/40, and the ratio is about 50/50 for the Engineer level exams.
Patton says that the Linux Professional Group was formed at the behest of Thomson, who called Patton because he has been the head of SAIR’s steering committee, a group that has included notables such as Eric Raymond, Richard Stallman, Bruce Perens, and John Hall. Patton says that SAIR’s founder, Tobin Maginnis, is the president emeritis of Linux Professional Group. Of Thomson’s seeming inability to deal with SAIR, Patton says they “pushed it the best way they knew how. They didn’t have too many people inside who were part of the Open Source community,” and hence the confusion over how best to administer the certification body.
Interesting is Patton’s assertion that several large corporations have signed on to the Linux Professional Group in hopes of bringing SAIR training and certification to their enterprises in a big way. “We’ve got people from Fedex, GlaxoSmithKline, HewlettPackard, [and others] helping us develop the courseware and the testing.”
Why is SAIR any better than, say, LPI? According to Patton, it’s the courseware. LPI justs makes the tests, and it is up to training centers and authors to create training materials. SAIR, by contrast, creates training materials using the same psychometrics and competencies it employs putting together the exams. Pattons says that makes for better training.
SAIR is targetting Fortune 100 and 500 companies that are moving from Unix or Solaris-based systems to Linux, says Patton. “Our test developers are from many corporations that are supporting Linux.”
Little information is available about the Linux Professional Group – the website is unfinished and looks too homey to be backed by big corporate bucks. A June 27, 2002 press release calls the Linux Professional Group “a non-profit developer of Linux curriculum, training, and testing, to deliver the official Sair Linux and GNU certification and training materials,” but it’s apparent that little actual development nas taken place yet, almost six months later.
There are rumors that that other Linux certification body, Linux Professional Institute (LPI), had a problem with Linux Professional Group because the name is just too similar and could be a trademark violation. Patton denies that allegation; he says that he’s had many discussions with LPI, but the subject of trademark violation has never come up. He believes the names are not too similar, and that Group and Institute are different enough to clearly delineate the two organizations.
Is there a rivalry between LPI and SAIR? If there is, it goes back at least to 1998, when Tobin Maginnis, Dan York, then president of the BOD of LPI, and Evan Leibovitch, current BOD president, exchanged a little vitriol on the lpi mailing list. Back then, when there was still talk of creating one central certification body for Linux, it was apparent the SAIR camp and the LPI camp weren’t ready to work together. There’s nothing to indicate they are ready yet, although industry insiders have said that there’s a possibility if SAIR were to fall through the cracks at Thomson, LPI would be willing to scoop it up.
SAIR tests are still readily available through Thomson at local training centers around the globe. The tests are downloaded and administered on demand by proctors at the training centers. The average cost to take a SAIR examination is $100.
A judge has ruled against an injunction Microsoft is seeking against Lindows.com, the company that’s trying to make more Microsoft programs work in Linux. Microsoft alleges that Lindows is violating its Windows trademark, but our own Jack Bryar notes dozens of other cases where Windows or Windows-like names are used in company products.
Looks like Microsoft either has dozens of trademark violation cases to sue over, or much more likely, will be told by a judge that if it wants a trademark, it should come up with words less common than windows, word or office. But don’t hold your breath — when was the last time you saw Microsoft do something truly innovative?
In other business-related news, there were several reports this week of Sun Microsystems’ plans to start charging for its popular StarOffice suite, an alternative to Windows that opens most Microsoft-formatted documents. The Open Source project for OpenOffice will continue, however.
Disney buys a bill
Sen. Fritz Hollings — who’s from South Carolina but gets a sizable chuck of money from Disney and other large copyright holders –finally introduced a version of his Security Systems Standards and Certification Act, now going by the name the Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act. The proposed law would require electronics manufacturers to embed copy-protection controls in all PCs and consumer electronic devices sold in the United States, pretty much squashing any kind of fair use rights the public has on copyrighted works, and further limiting legitimate reverse engineering done by Open Source developers and others.
I’m not sure how much good a few thousand signatures will do against the corporate resources of Disney and and the motion picture industry, but there is an anti-SSSCA petition available. The petition had more than 70,000 signatures as of Sunday evening.
Linux at federal trade show
Linux continues to be in the background at the FOSE technology-in-government trade show, but don’t blame the efforts of the Northern Virginia LUG. Members were hoping to pass out 1,000 Linux CDs at the three-day event.
Several government agencies are using Linux and Open Source, however. On Friday, the Cyberspace Policy Institute at The George Washington University announced a plan to gain an international security rating for the U.S. National Security Agency’s Security Enhanced Linux project.
Also this week, Internet architects at the U.S. Census Bureau detailed how Open Source software is being used on several agency Web projects.
New at NewsForge and Linux.com
Other stories that NewsForge and Linux.com reported first this week:
The Nasdaq ended last week at 1.851.30, down ever-so-slightly from the 1,868.30 March 15 close. It was the second week in a row the Nasdaq fell. Of our index of 11 Open Source-related stocks, 10 fell, with only MandrakeSoft rising a week after the company asked for more customer support because of a cash crunch.
Red Hat saw its stock price tumble 17% Wednesday on reports of lower than expected quarterly earnings. The company did report an “adjusted” profit, despite what was called “weak” sales.
Here’s how Open Source and related stocks ended this past week:
|Company Name||Symbol||315 Close||3/22 Close|
|Borland Software Int’l||BORL||12.26||11.99|
|Wind River Systems||WIND||13.73||12.53|
Author: Benjamin D. Thomas
MkLinux is an Open Source operating system which consists of an implementation of the Linux operating system hosted on the Mach microkernel. We
estimate that there are somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 MkLinux users. A significant number of the installed MkLinux systems are being used in
MkLinux abstracts the hardware from the operating system and allows the possibility of running multiple operating systems at the same time. The two
operating systems essentially should be able to coexist without affecting each other.
MkLinux is a microkernel based operating system which is 100% compatible with the monolithic (ie. original) Linux since it is based upon almost
entirely unmodified Linux code, but becomes trivial to port to any platforms supported by the OSF Mach3 microkernel. The Linux sources now include the
Mach interface as a new machine type, but the same sources can equally well be used to build the original monolithic linux.
By using the OSF Mach3 microkernel the resulting Linux system will also be able to take advantage of additional functionality made available such as
SMP, MMP, and hard real-time support, to mention but a few.
Visit http://www.mklinux.org/ for more information.
Author: Benjamin D. Thomas
OS Linux has become the most popular UNIX-like operating system about the end of XX century, and also a cheap alternative to cost-intensive (HP,
Sun Solaris, Digital
UNIX) solutions. At present, the pace of Linux’ occupying the marked (compared to other OSes) is the most intensive and the tendency stay on.
The strong point of Linux is it’s mulipurpose nature. Linux covers all the range of applications, from desktop PC to powerful
super-high-performance clusters of computer
systems. Today multiprocessing Linux kernel successfully functions on a wide range of hardware platforms: PC, DEC Alpha, Apple Macintosh, DEC VAX,
PA-RISC, Sun Microsystems SPARC and Ultra-SPARC-64, StrongArm, etc.
A wellknown problem of software localization in order to suit Russina and Ukrainian’ users requirements is not viewed by western manufacturers of
Linux distributions as the
one worth an attention. Instead they are annoyed with quantities of small bugs in different Linux distributions, with the absence of qualified
consulting and product technical
support services for Ukrainian users. The spectrum of applications distributed with Linux system by foreign vendors is insufficient to solve the set
of tasks common for
Ukrainian users, ISPs, other IT companies.
On January 27, 1999, with conformance to the world-wide process of Linux development, an own custom Linux distribution — KSI Linux 2.0 (Nostromo)
— was announced by
Global Ukraine engineers. This new version has been developed for about a year after previous, 1.2 (Tornado) version of KSI Linux was issued.
The arrival of this distribution is backed by desire to get an industrial quality, full-featured all-in-one product, which will be developed in
conformance with Linux project
world-wide. KSI Linux project assumes distribution of the product almost for free (at the cost of CDROM) and provision of support and consulting
services for Ukrainian users.
KSI Linux 2.0 distribution (already available on CDROM) is supplied with a set of software packages necessary and sufficient for many common tasks.
At present, the process of “KSI Linux Co.” creation is almost complete. Company’s main goal is the most complete and qualified satisfaction for a
demand of Ukrainian
companies and enterprises, and personal users, for this software product, and provision of technical support and consulting services for them.
Even today the emerging company is able to satisfy Ukrainian market demand for ready-to-run, stable, localized, professional quality Linux
distribution, and in the nearest
future the company will be able to extend it’s supply to the international market of former-USSR countries. The product went through a year of field
testing at Global Ukraine’
production servers. Today KSI Linux backs up almost every PC-platform server of first complete Linux distribution built around the new-generation
kernel of version 2.2.x,
while all other Linux distributions offered worldwide are based at 2.0.x kernels. The product than get an ability to support all the modern PC
hardware which arrived on the
market during last two years — RAID arrays, watchdogs, scanners, TV-cards etc.
Author: Benjamin D. Thomas
Author: Benjamin D. Thomas
Summary of Products and Services:
expertise has led its flagship product, the SuSE Linux
distribution, into becoming one of the most popular Linux distributions
worldwide. Now an international company, carefully localized versions of
SuSE Linux are available in many languages. SUSE Linux is available for
the Intel, Alpha, and Power PC* platforms. SuSE was founded in 1992, making it one of the earliest commercial Linux companies.
In addition to its Linux distribution, SuSE provides professional services
to both enterprises and end users, offering technical support, consulting,
Partner Programs, and sales support to customers, resellers, and
distributors around the world. Because IT professionals respect the
reliability, comprehensive range of support, and level of technical
consulting SuSE offers them, SuSE is the platform of choice for server
systems at many companies.
SuSE is a technology leader in Linux. Through its SuSE Linux Labs division, SuSE contributes significantly
to Linux research and development with projects like XFree86, ALSA,
KDE, glibc, and kernel development, as well as with ports to other
platforms such as Sparc, Alpha and PPC, always releasing its contributions to the
Open Source community.
SuSE has a solid engineering team: With over 250 employees worldwide,
two-thirds are employed in development, support, and information technology
Because SuSE Labs is leading several important Linux development projects, more than 50 key developers from the Linux Community work
for SuSE. This level of Linux expertise enables SuSE to provide global
support for “mission-critical applications.”
Software Products: SuSE Linux Distribution
SuSE Linux comes with installation and administration tools, a
carefully maintained set of over 1500 applications, an extensive
manual, and 60 days of installation support. SuSE’s Linux distribution
adheres to international standards.
The current version, 6.3, premiered in early
December 1999 in both CDROM and DVD formats. Check http://www.suse.de/en
for upcoming information about new versions.
Non-Linux users sometimes wonder why SuSE releases an updated distribution every
4 months if Linux is so stable and reliable. The
quarterly releases allow the SuSE Development Team to bring the latest
Linux software and technical innovations to the market. However, while
Linux itself is continuously updated, SuSE controls its own releases.
SuSE only incorporates updates to the heart of the Linux operating system,
the kernel, when stable and when they provide performance improvements.
Experimental software outside the kernel is always labeled as such and
comes with documentation. SuSE ensures both innovation
and stability with every release.
In other services to its users, the majority of the new packages
are also available from our ftp server: ftp://ftp.suse.com. Technical information is always available online
through the support database.
Software Awards and Reviews:
The SuSE Linux distribution has won many different industry and user
The SuSE Linux distribution is also frequently praised for having
excellent documentation, comprehensive hardware support, and an encyclopedic
set of Linux tools. The technical editor of Linux Journal Magazine,
a major US Linux publication, summarized many SuSE Linux benefits
when he stated in a recent review (10/99):
“SuSE is a serious, high-performance distribution which is more
complete than practically any single distribution, and at the same
time is clean and fast due to effective configuration and
— Jason Kroll, Technical Editor, Linux Journal Magazine
SuSE Linux for Business
Businesses adopt Linux because it now features
business-level applications in addition to technical versatility
and economy for IT solutions. SuSE supports businesses with its
distribution as well as with associated applications running on the
SuSE Linux platform. Such applications include:
SuSE Linux ISVs offering enterprise-level
applications include, among others:
Combine SuSE’s popularity as a server platform with the availability of
business solutions on SuSE and SuSE technical support, and you have
solid business solutions.
v. 1.0 January 2000