[BSDCert] Some more ideas
bryan.maynard at reallm.com
Sat Aug 6 11:59:18 EDT 2005
Hello all :-) It's ne, your friendly neihborhood n00b ;-)
I think Even brought up some excellent points and I would like to throw
in my two cents. . . He brought up issues he hasn't seen addressed yet.
I'd like to present my thoughts and ideas on these topics. They are as
1. The business plan and revenue model
1.a I agree that this needs to be adressed. This issue could break this
whole effort if not handled properly. I do not believe the world needs
another certification thrown into the pool known as "evidence of
knowledge". There are already many standards and certification bodies
that are both highly respected and very influential. If BSD
certification attempts to go head-to-head with MCSE or Linux
certification companies with it's business model it will lose.
My idea is to take an alternate approach and target a specific and
focused group - not only for certification, but also for costomers of
certified BSD professionals.
*What is the BSD cert's revenue model?*
Consider this extremely carefully: not only will this determine how the
BSD certification organization grows - it will also have serious
influence on the short and long term reputation of the organization: a
revenue model says a lot about why you are doing what you are doing.
* How will proctors be paid?*
(Are you willing to live with the risk of corruption of volunteer
proctors? We weren't. - LPI)
This is an excellent question, and could single-handedly make or break
the whole operation; a corrupt proctor - especially early on - will
ruin the organization's reputation, possibly perminantly.
*Will there be official courseware that will augment the exam revenue?*
This feeds directly into the open vs closed question cannon
conversation: if the cannon is open how will the courseware be updated
to match the question cannon? If the cannon is closed, how do we avoid
qustions becoming stale? I, personally, think tests and questions would
be much harder to improve by relying soley on post-test testee input
than having an open repository of question and material that experts
could look over and update. But that's just my opinion - and I am not
claiming to be a test expert.
Something else to consider is this: if courseware is offered this may
help solve the proctor problem because study guides as well as actual
testing software could be sold. This would allow test to be completely
automated - removing the corruptability factor. Terminals would be
needed to issues the tests, however.
2. Actual demand
2.a This could seem like a dream-killer, but I don't think it is. The
BSDs popularity is growing (Mac OS X uses FreeBSD also). The BSDs
Represent a large chunk of the world's most secure OSs. Linux is the
most-hacked OS on the market. BSD certifications could very well
augment growth and provide the perception that the BSD's security is
not haphazard. Make the big-name clients of FreeBSD as widely known as
possible. Play up that quality IT professionals are recieving quality
training on the world's greatest operating systems. People have
enormous respect for UC Berkley - however, how many people even know
that the BSDs originated at Berkley? Play up the BSD's pedigree!
I believe the demand for the BSDs (and certified professionals to setup
and administer them) is there, it's just untapped. Many, many companies
are sick of Windows and looking for alternatives. I see many users,
developers, and sysadmins switching to FreeBSD on the mailing lists -
make this known!
3.a This is potentially very sticky. Partnerships mean politics - and
politics can kill innocation and software. One of the greatest
strengths of the BSD's is their conftolled development. Random people
don't throw patches together and call it software. However, to get
noticed you have to have someone care about you. And to have someone
care, you have to give them what they want; this is where things can
get sticky. How to we give them what they want? Who's requests do we
answer first? with a limited development staff, what features get
implemented when? If we make partners unhappy, they won't be partners
anymore, so how do we please our supports without rushing software out
Now that I have spoke on those topics I'd like to return my comment on
the first issue: a) who will want to use certified BSD professionals?
and b) who will want to get certified?
a) Powerhouses like Novell and Red Hat already rule the Linux world,
Apple is making a presence with BSD-based OS X, and Microsoft is the
jugernaught's jugernught - so where do we fit in?
One thing to note is this: While all vendors provide solutions for small
to medium sized businesses none SPECIALIZE in small to medium sized
business solutions. This would be a good place for us to start. As I
mentioned in my previous post (Some ideas. . .), I think a good
approach would be to certify more than just sysadmins:
Produce certified software experts that know to build software
solutions for small to medium sized businesses. This certification
could provide assurance that the certified would not only know what
Open SOurce apps best fit specific needs, but also know how groups of
applications fit together, follow the development and community of
applications (maybe even provide active feedback to projects such as
OpenOffice as part of their job description - this could help build
healthy and influential partnerships).
Produce certified kernel experts that could shave the kernel to the
bare required minimum. These experts would also have intimate knowledge
of specific hardware support - what motherboards owrk best, what
rack-mounted servers are the easiest to setup and most stable, etc.
Produce performance engineers to squeeze every last drop of power from
a system. Given a combination of hardware and software, these experts
would be able to tune the system for maximum efficiency and speed.
These experts could also handle things like loading balancing and
Produce watchdogs that provide optimal security environments. These
experts could take a system built by the other experts and secure it.
Finally, produce sysadmins. These experts could be brought in after a
system is designed, built, and installed. They would monitor the system
and modify it as necessary to meet changing business needs.
There would be three levels of certification for each class. The
sysadmin would be a "jack of all trades". Perhaps the sysadmin
certification could represent all other certifications. For example: a
level 1 sysadmin certification would be equivilant to a combination of
all other level 1 certifications. This would mean that a Sysadmin Level
1 would know everything that a Performance Engineer Level 1 would know
- along with all the other level 1 certifications.
Using these "swat teams" could be very enticing for small to medium
sized businesses: they get custom-built solutions by certified
professionals (not salesmen). They can tailor their systems to their
needs and budgets; if they have enough for a Watchdog, a Performance
Engineer, and a Software Expert that's all they need to pay for. If
htey just want to hire a Sysadmin to build and maintain their system,
they can. Again, play up the modularity, stability, and ease of
administration of BSD-based systems.
I imagine that instead of throwing our hat into an already-crowded ring,
it would be best to create our own ring and be the only hat. Consulting
firrms could hire BSD certified professionals to build solutions for
clients. Certified professionals could start their own businesses
building custom solutions. There are many possible models that could be
used (or created). Though not easy, I don't think this route would be
FYI: I am looking to start just such an open source consulting firm. One
of my friend's has done something similar and I am aware of several
other ventures that have started recently along the same lines. If we
could provide these consulting firms with IT professionls certified in
open source BSD solutions than we could simultaneously stimulate demand
for the BSDs, our certifications, and our client firm's solutions.
I am eager to hear your thoughts. . .
Open Source: by the people, for the people.
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