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Sun Microsystems

Sun Opens First Linux Competency Center 128

McGarnacle writes "Looks like our friends at Sun have opened the first Linux training centers at the headquarters of a Belleville, Ontario firm: beONix Technology. Now there's a worthwhile summer activity for the kids :)"
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Sun Opens First Linux Competency Center

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  • Why Sun? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 3.5 stripes ( 578410 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @10:10AM (#5080258)
    I realize that they do make use of linux, but haven't they got their own OS?

    I could think of many more companies that have a more vested interest in seeing linux succeed.

    • Re:Why Sun? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @10:24AM (#5080368) Homepage Journal
      They do, and it's Unix-like too. (Actually, it is Unix, but the point is that they have something in common.)

      From Sun's point of view, they need diversity. They've always worked with various groups from Sony to Apple to the open source and free software communities to ensure that there isn't one single platform everyone uses. As long as there is diversity, Sun will be free to innovate.

      The moment Giant Software Corp Inc takes over the entire industry and makes it impossible to produce computers that do not run its software, the game is over. Sun would have to choose between selling hardware of a spec defined by GSCI or throwing in the towel, and if it chooses the former it becomes yet another supplier of commodity boxes. Right now, GSCI is Microsoft, and choice means supporting, passively or pro-actively, platforms from GNU, Oracle, IBM, and a whole host of other so-called rivals, because there is a bigger threat to Sun if these disappear than if they continue to compete.

      Sun, incidentally, are a pretty good software citizen. They've lead the trend creating open platforms, released the specs and source to things like OpenLook, NIS, NFS,, and others right from the get-go. I suspect they'd be more liberal with Solaris if it wasn't for the fact that other people own the copyrights to a lot of the code. Java is the exception, but then Sun knows how easy it would be for a GSCI to kill Java, and it wants to give it a chance. I'd be surprised if Java isn't freed within the next decade though.

      • So you're saying they're doing it to improve all around knowledge/usage of "unixy" OSes?

        Makes sense, I'm just surprised it's sun who is doing it.
        • Well, it certainly helps if there are improved skills around for Unixy OSes, but I think the most important issue for Sun is that platforms other than Windows, the current dominant system, are supported.
      • I agree with this almost completely. Sun has attempted to introduce "open" standards with varying amounts of control. I think if you analysed it, the more control they went for, the less successful the technology has been. The recognised from the start that NFS had to be very open, or it would not succeed, and by making it very open from the start, sponsoring connectathons, and such, it is a huge success story. They tried to control NEWS, and it flopped. With Java they are trying more of a middle road, but it's hard to say yet.

        Bottom line is that they practically invented the idea of "Open Systems", and were a pioneer with the SunOSs (essentially a BSD fork). In the late 80s, I was working at AT&Ts Summit, NJ facility (later to be spun off and sold as USO, Unix Software Operation). Bill Joy came to speak at a nearby AT&T location, and I heard him give his rant on "the vendor motel" (you know, you check in, but you don't check out). At that time, this was more directed at IBM, DEC, HP, and anyone who was still maintaining their own non-Unix OS. MicroSoft wasn't even on anyone's radar screen then, but then, you can't blame them, Windows 3.0 hadn't come out yet, so it was hard to consider it more than a toy.

        In the end, Sun continues to deliver a lot of value to their customers. It's going to cost a bit more than buying commodity PC hardware and using Linux, but in my experience it is a lot more foolproof. You can probably get most of this with the best PC vendors, and Linux, but the service and support will be better from Sun. You have the commitment of a single vendor to deliver a complete hardware/software system. All of the Linux distribution houses are in the mode of packaging what they get from the community, not putting together a complete system (well, that's my impression anyway, it would be nice to see a vendor prove me wrong).

        It is fair to say Sun has been reluctant to fully support Linux on their hardware, but I see that position as well justified. Until recently, Solaris was significantly more stable than Linux, so not many customers wanted it. Now, with so many huge server farms with many x86 boxes running Linux, and say a few larger Suns running databases and such, I can see wanting to run Linux on the Sun servers too. Your going to have less support cost for an all Linux environment than a Sun/Linux environment. For Sun, it doesn't matter if you run the box on Solaris or Linux, they aren't making much money on the software anyway. In fact, it probably costs less to support the user on Linux, so it is conceivable that they eventually drop Solaris altogether.

        It's really the same dynamic is IBM has with AIX and Linux. As long as there is a strong demand from the customer base for Solaris, or AIX, they will keep them going. At some point, it will be attractive to port a couple of distictive tools to Linux and be done with it. These tools would be the ones that keep the holdouts for AIX/Solaris hanging around. It also means that Linux is just at stable as AIX/Solaris (I would say it is pulling close or even by now, but this is a difficult thing to measure).

      • I'm not sure if I would look at "creating and releasing NIS into the wild" as the act of a totally benevolent corp. ;)

    • I realize that they do make use of linux, but haven't they got their own OS?

      It's not productive to quibble about the differences between UNIX variants. I *know* that a minority of Linux users hate to be lumped in with UNIX, but from a user's point of view there's little difference.
      • Re:Why Sun? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by boaworm ( 180781 ) <> on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @10:48AM (#5080553) Homepage Journal
        but from a user's point of view there's little difference.

        I totally disagree.. And most likely you would to if you ever installed and administered Solaris.

        Linux is totally beautiful when it comes to simplicity, the /dev directory is actually understandable just by looking at the names, whereas in Solaris you dont get crap without a manual or two.

        Linux is a "unix clone" designed for PC's whereas Solaris is designed for large computers. Creating light or thin clients in linux, backed up by the huge support of hardware, and running solaris on the servers is perhaps what Sun has in mind, Solaris on the workstation is too clumsy _imho_.

        • He wasn't talking about it from an admin point of view. He was talking about it from the point of view of a user who is not the admin for the machine.
        • > Linux is totally beautiful when it comes to simplicity

          Every distribution is different, often very different. Every distribution is full of crap you'll never need, and each one requires a different set of tools and knowledge to safely remove said crap.

          Solaris is unchanging, predictable, and easier to pare down than any Linux I've ever worked with. Indeed, Sun are generally accused of not supplying enough apps with the OS, but I think that's good. You just add in what you need and it's easier to keep track of just what's installed. Keeps things simple.

          As a hotch-potch of BSD, SysV, with however many desktops, scripting languages and all, backed up by scant documentation, I often find it hard to believe Linux was ever designed at all, for *any* hardware. I certainly wouldn't tout it as being "beautifully simple".
      • Err. Ehm. ::re-reads:: ::coughs::

        From THIS user's POV, there is definitely a difference between Solaris and Linux.

        First off- Linux means free & open source. Last I checked Solaris would release source, but if you wanted to modify it you had to pay some sort of licensing fee. Linux is typically without those restrictions.

        Second off- All *nix distributions, even those within the Linux family, have quite a few differences that could throw a casual (or even advanced) user off. Try telling me that the average Joe user could be placed on gentoo, Redhat, Solaris, and OS X and never know the difference.

        Unix variants are just that. Variants. They may share themes and source code, and run the same programs, and have the same GUI, but they still vary by quite a bit, and it's foolish to say a user wouldn't know the difference. It's even more foolish to say that a Unix user wouldn't see much difference, as the typical Unix user is far more astute than say... The average consumer of say... Windows or the Mac OS. (Note: I'm saying "AVERAGE" so please don't jump to defend your favorite OS--I'm sure you're far above average.)

        Furthermore, it's about choice. Choice drives the market. If someone likes a certain flavor of OS, it's in their best interest to evangelize and make it known that that OS has a million and two benefits over the other OS. Word of mouth means higher popularity. Higher popularity means a better chance of survival. So "quibbling" over a flavor of *nix, particularly when it comes down to "Sun" vs "Redhat/SuSE/Mandrake/Debian" is quite productive. It sparks the curiousity of the party on the other side, and raises the liklihood that that person might try, like, switch, and strengthen the userbase of the *nix you know and love.

        The person you responded to had a very valid point. Even though Sun has a Linux, their primary pushing point is Solaris. If MS decided to have a Linux and opened a Linux school, do you think it would be a fabulous idea for MS to have a Linux school, or would you think that it was just another attempt at world domination?

        "Hello dear student, today we will discuss Linux administration (and why you want to be on our OS instead). We will discuss the pros (not pro-enough) and the cons (totally reason to switch to our other OS and pay us a fortune in licensing fees) of Linux as an operating system."

        • So "quibbling" over a flavor of *nix, particularly when it comes down to "Sun" vs "Redhat/SuSE/Mandrake/Debian" is quite productive. It sparks the curiousity of the party on the other side, and raises the liklihood that that person might try, like, switch, and strengthen the userbase of the *nix you know and love.

          Quibbling in this instance is good - it's good to see the differences (e.g. SVR4 pkgadd vs rpm vs apt etc.).

          On the whole, it's best for all *nix users if people find the *nix that suits them - I have very hazy recollections from marketing school along those lines - the more differentiation there is, the bigger the market is, etc.

          However, I didn't finish the course because I discovered the internet that summer, so what do I know anyway? :)

    • Re:Why IBM? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by kperrier ( 115199 )
      I realize that they do make use of linux, but haven't they got their own OS?

      Looks to me that this logic works with other companies as well. HP comes to mind as well. The only type of company I would be suprised to find listed in a statement like this is a pure software company that sells an OS. (Microsoft and Novell come to mind first...)

      If the hardware manufacturers support Linux then that can only be a good thing.

    • Actually if you think about it most of the major companies who support linux have their own OS, IBM has AIX , HP has HP-UX .... they are all Unix based OS's that are meant to run heavy metal.

      HOWEVER, Sun has contributed many many things to the open source community such has Grid Engine (clustering software) and has also funded alot of development in the gnome community.

      i will say they were a little late to the ball game, but that shouldnt detract from the positive contributions they have given to the community.
  • Keates dismisses the notion hosting the centre in Belleville is a draw back. He says most people will have to travel no matter where it is, geographically speaking its in the sweet spot -- between Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal. Heaven says Sun Canada gets 50 per cent of its revenue in the triangle.

    it's exactly where i want to be spending time in january! how about some nice caribean trainning centers i can get my manager to send me off to. i'd go to class honest ;).
    • Re:sign me up.. (Score:2, Informative)

      by Gramie2 ( 411713 )
      That's just the kind of uninformed badmouthing that we don't need, here in SE Ontario (I'm in Kingston, 45 minutes east of Belleville, or BelleVegas as we sometimes call it).

      When I got up this morning, it was a balmy -23 degrees (-9 Fahrenheit to the unwashed) and my nostrils would stick closed when I breathed in.

      Caribbean? Pah!
    • Belleville is a fun area of the 401 to drive through as well - in the winter you get free bonus blizzards! Score bonus points if you're heading all the way to Kingston!
    • you're all forgetting about Shannonville, just down the highway from Belleville. Maybe Sun Canada can offer some racing school together with Linux training
  • Cobalt Raq updates (Score:4, Informative)

    by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @10:22AM (#5080348) Homepage
    Could they please send the team now in charge of Cobalt Raq updates there?

    They've managed to introduce remote exploits via their alleged Security Hardening Package, and recent posts on the Cobalt developers lists show that their latest kernel update caused some machines to crash unrecoverably. They've promised an updated PHP on the Raq4 for an age now, but no sign.

    That, coupled with the inordinate delay in patching OpenSSL when slapper appeared makes me a tad more unhappy than I used to be. Used to be a good service, but now seems to be in shambles.


    • That, coupled with the inordinate delay in patching OpenSSL when slapper appeared makes me a tad more unhappy than I used to be.

      No kidding. Fix out from in June, and Sun still hasn't gotten it packaged and published yet.
  • eh? (Score:2, Insightful)

    How are these the first Linux Training Centers???

    Red Hat have a couple of hundred, and I'd be willing to bet that they are more Linux centric that Sun would be... this reminds me of their toe-in-the-water efforts over Star Office licensing. They know they can't compete, so they find a niche they can offer, and training/support is the weakest area IMHO...

  • Internal Sun unrest (Score:5, Interesting)

    by popeydotcom ( 114724 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @10:23AM (#5080357) Homepage
    I was chatting to a Sun employee the other day. He was telling me that a lot of developers at Sun are unhappy with the proliferation of Linux through their organisation.

    The way I understand it, they aren't happy with the level of maturity in the Linux kernel *compared with the Solaris kernel*. He seemed to imply that the scalability in Linux wasn't as good, and felt Sun should be pushing Solaris more than Linux.

    Don't take this as Linux bashing - I use it a lot at home and work, I just wondered if other developers felt similarly.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @10:26AM (#5080386)
      Listen, I don't know who your source is. I'm a developer at Sun too and I can tell you we're more than happy about Linux. We see it as the dominant player in the future.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Hey, I don't know who YOUR source is but I repair mainframes for NASA. Over here, we think Linux sucks.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Really? Well I'm Scott McNealy and I want you to get back to work right now! I just got a call from Steve Ballmer and he was laughing his ass off about how all we do here is surf Slashdot all day.

        Wait a minute...How would he know that?
    • Yes this may indeed be true at least for the very short term. Sun knows damn well that they cannot stop the inevitable tide. The linux programming force is extremely strong and motivated. Linux is growing exponentially stronger each and every single day. One only has to look at SGI for a 64 way record shattering linux machine. Cluster technology on linux is growing at a faster rate than in any other operating system.Sun knows that no matter what they do or say Linux is going to own the Unix server space.
      • I don't think there's anything particularly inevitable about the tide. Think about who buys Sun's machines - businesses, after solutions. SGI's machine is focussed on a very specific target market. It has few commercial apps, no reference sites in industry, etc. Customers needing that Oracle upgrade, storage consolidation and custom in-house developed app, across multiple global sites, are not going to install a 64 way Itanium Linux machine from SGI.
    • Sun sells hardware and enterprise software. I'm not sure why they would care too much if that software ran on Linux/Solaris or even the Windows OS as long as it was their enterprise app servers on thier hardware with their engineers supporting the systems.
    • Well it is probably a difference in which department they work in. If he is developing software for the 15k then he would not like linux as much because the Solaris Kernel is very well designed for the larger systems. But Linux is better in their workstation market where you dont need a heavy duty solaris system to run the same things that you can use linux for on cheaper systems. So a lot of application programers dont mind the Linux because most of the porting is the same. But of course the solaris development team may get cut because Sun is spreading out their work force and resources.
    • A big fat box running Solaris is no silver bullet. Even a cabal of Sun engineers can botch such a deployment. So, the "superiority" of Solaris may or may not be relevant.

      Besides, not everyone needs to run 40 CPU monsters.

      As long as Linux can chug along on "smallish" boxes and perform reasonably well, Solaris "superiority" really shouldn't matter. In the domain where most shops actually operate, the hardware architecture is far more critical.

      What RAID level your storage subsystem is running is probably going to matter more than Linux vs. Solaris.
  • Uh oh,,, (Score:5, Funny)

    by gpinzone ( 531794 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @10:25AM (#5080376) Homepage Journal
    Would you let your kids hang around with a bunch of Linux admins [] for an entire summer? I think not!
    • Re:Uh oh,,, (Score:5, Funny)

      by mark_lybarger ( 199098 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @10:33AM (#5080442)
      yeah, i went to church camp in the summer when i was a youth. and from what i vaguely remember, i would much rather send my daughter to a linux admin summer camp than to church camp. sure she'll be out numbered, but the pale pasty caffiene slurping zombies will be too busy trying to get their fps as high as possible or see who's beowulf cluster can out-crunch the others to stop to ask her name let alone attempt anything we did while away at church camp!
      • Church camp probably isn't so bad. Just remember NEVER to drink the Kook-Aid.
        • not it wasn't bad at all. there was a 1:12 adult to camper ratio. we managed to have quite a blast and get away with quite a lot of things that young teens are quite interested in. we even managed to find ourselves at a kegger on evening, but we had to sneak away from the camp for a few hours for that one.
  • Whew! That was a relief! Without SUN we'd all be incompetent! ;)
  • Wrong directions (Score:5, Informative)

    by Neil Watson ( 60859 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @10:36AM (#5080467) Homepage
    Located about two hours north of Toronto

    Bellville is two hours east of Toronto.

  • Cost? (Score:1, Offtopic)

    I didn't notice the price list in the articles, but maybe I missed it.

    *wish* they would open some free (as in beer) training centers for some of us. Afterall, I can download the software for free, I can scan news groups and ask questions, but as far as someone testing my knowledge (which would help me know what areas I needed to improve), it looks like I have to pay for it.

    And there's nothing wrong with getting money off of this as far as I can tell, I'm just dreaming. And no, most LUG's don't do least not the ones in my area.
  • by MosesJones ( 55544 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @11:00AM (#5080663) Homepage

    This move by Sun means that one of the largest HW vendors is looking at Linux as an OS.

    Linux as the OS, Java as the environment, J2EE as the application platform.

    IBM have gone this way, now Sun, HP already have too..... interesting times ahead.
    • Java and Linux? Are you kidding?

      I've been using J2EE on winNT/2k, Solaris and linux and i would tell that Linux was the worst case of scenario counting slow performance and amount of bugs.

      I am not fun of Java after all, but if you want to (have to, are forced to) use Java, take either Solaris or Windows, depends on your hardware budget.

      Personally, I prefer to develop Python based web applications with Zope. But that is off-topic.

      • "I've been using J2EE on winNT/2k, Solaris and linux and i would tell that Linux was the worst case of scenario counting slow performance and amount of bugs."

        I haven't experienced any problems and "j2ee" (btw I use an application server not "j2ee") can beat zope on my solaris box. zope works really badly for multi cpu machines
      • I have yet to find a situation where Java runs faster on Windows than on Linux. Both in GUI and in server applications, Java far outperforms on Linux than on Windows.

        If you are not fond of java (translated from your "not fun of java"), then chances are you are doing things wrong or simply do not understand what you are doing with it.

        The application I am working on must run on everything thrown against it (HP-UX, Solaris, Windows, Linux so far), and windows is the WORST performer so far. In my opinion it has more to do with Windows memory management, etc. than anything Java has control over.

    • Except there may come a time when corporations realize the many layers of a J2EE application and the slowness of Java really drain the horsepower of a group of machines, and that a lean, mean middleware coupled with a good scripting language can even kick java's butt.

      Not to mention Linux taking on the abilities to work even huge servers and advanced storage arrays....

      I love Solaris and Sun gear, but I see trouble for them ahead.
  • Right. You know sun really wants to "help" when they put up shop in Bellville.

    Belleville, population 36000. There are only 20 or so Linux/Unix users in the whole city and surrounding area. I can give you the names of ALL of them. The surrounding area includes Trenton, Picton, Bloomfield, Milford and the famous Sandbanks Provincial Park. (Largest freshwater beach in the world, largest freshwater sand dunes in the world. Its our only claim to fame)

    Why Belleville is what I would like to know?

    If you don't know it, its a bunch of old farmers who don't own computers and can't afford them. Cable and DSL internet are new, (ie past 8 months). Dial-Up is the standard internet, and for 90% of ppl its their only option (save satellite, but if you can't afford a decent machine, how could u afford that?)

    There are no tech companies in Belleville or surrounding area. Save a small windows help desk company (Stream) where if you don't have a high school diploma, you can get a job. But if you've got an education, you can't get a job there.

    I really don't know what they were thinking. The locals have absolutely no interest in computers. And why would anyone WANT to come here?

    So if your boss sends you to belleville, well, i hope you like to drink yourself stupid because thats about all there is to do here.
    • Re:Um Bellville ? (Score:2, Informative)

      by smithdm3 ( 639752 )
      Ummm.... no tech companies? Let's see... Nortel Networks has their largest Enterprise Voice design center in Belleville. That's where all that nice CallPilot, Meridian and CallServer code comes out of. By the way, DSL and Cable have been availble for over 2 years.
    • The only good thing I can think of about locating it in Belleville is that it's about equidistant from the Ottawa tech cluster (Ottawa, Kanata, Hull, etc.), Toronto and its exurbs (Toronto, Markham, Scarberia), and Montreal. Also, the overhead's probably way cheaper in Belleville than in the GTA, Ottawa, Montreal, or a similar-sized urban centre. Hmm... Sneaky ulterior motive question: Did anyone happen to notice whether the City of Belleville is providing infrastructure monies or similar other "incentives"?
    • It's BellEville. I am from there, currently living in Los Angeles. Right now I am in Chicago, just wrapped up migrating a critical hospital system to a shiny new Oracle server. Did the same thing last week in Rochester, MN and the week before in Burlington, VT.

      I remember doing my co-op placement at Loyalist at .NetReach, still the dominant local ISP, where I got my first hands on with Linux as it runs the whole ISP. It was kernel .99 back then. So if they had over 500 clients (yes) I guess they had 500 linux users, right?

      Quit bitching, and open your eyes fool.


      P.S. netreach used to give shell accounts if you asked....
      p.s.s and yes the BBS scene was very strong!
      p.s.s.s. looking forward to moving back...

  • by fishlet ( 93611 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2003 @11:43AM (#5081134)

    I think Sun is starting to realize that Solaris is a dead end market share wise. This is no reflection on the quality of Solaris, just that the only major OS's to experience growth are Windows and Linux (and maybe OSX to a very small degree). Besides, companies like the idea of standardizing on a platform. For many that choice is Microsoft. If they don't like Micro$oft, then maybe they'll go with something else. But they probably wont go with three different things... for example Linux, Solaris, and AIX. So a smart company will give the customer what it wants- the ability to use standardize on a platform of choice.

    • Dear Scott:

      There's nothing I'd rather have for Christmas than Debian GNU/Solaris. By this, I mean Debian's look&feel with a Solaris kernel under the hood. Yes, I know Debian GNU/Linux supports the SPARC architecture, but I want the world-renowned performance of Sun's very own kernel plus the integration I expect from an OS + hardware vendor. Oh, and I want an enterprise-quality support contract.

      Solaris, as an operating system, leaves something to be desired, both in the bundled applications and the ease of administration. Rather than cozy up to RPMs and port Gnome, I think you should just toss the baby out with the bathwater. Everyone knows that Debian is the best Linux distribution, and since they're already working on ports to Hurd and NetBSD your developers have some examples to study.

      It would make me so happy, Scott. Please, pretty please?

  • If you can't beat 'em.....

    It's obvious that the open source development model and Linux is going to be the dominating force in computing. The only way that either can even be slowed down is through crooked litigation, which will not fly in the rest of the world.

    Linux is the Micheal Jordan of operating systems. You can't stop him, only hope to contain him. Linux is Micheal Jackson, Microsoft is Tito. A mega-rich and powerful Tito, but still Tito nontheless.

    • It's obvious that the open source development model and Linux is going to be the dominating force in computing.

      How is that obvious? It isn't currently, and linux/open source has not made any major effort to become the dominant force. Right now the dominant model is microsoft, and hell even Macs are better off than linux and open source, and due to usability issues linux is going to have a hard time for years to come.
  • So Sun is calling this venture "Beonix" []?

    Isn't that name taken by a vendor of a Mozilla browser distribution []?

    I guess now the shoe's on the other foot... []

    • So Sun is calling this venture "Beonix" []?

      Did you even bother to look at that link? How about the other stories? It seems fairly obvious that Beonix is a small tech company, not a "venture" so dubbed by Sun.

      • OOPS! Shouldn't post with my bonus while half asleep.

        Take 2:

        Now that a company called "Beonix" is working together with established powerhouse Sun Microsystems, does anybody see a danger of a name conflict with "Beonex Communicator"?

  • Someone needs to do it. The "RedHat" certification program is VERY expensive and VERY far from home which makes it very inaccessible to me.

    I'd like to see courseware and a test that I can take at my local testing center like the MCSE tests.

    But what would be the agreed upon criteria? What would be the certification title?

    I have an idea though! How about the "Linux Competency Test." Makes perfect sense. And we can get cool acronyms out of it like "LiCT" or something like that. :)
    • One of the problems that I see with the MCSE exam is that anyone can go to a bookstore, pick up a book, and then pass the exam(s). If testing for Linux becomes popular, I would hope that they give the test some integrity. One should have necessary "keyboard" time before becoming certified. Sort of like trade work, they have journeymen programs.

      Before it was a good assumption that is someone was a Linux admin, they knew their stuff. Let's keep it that way.

  • Belleville!?? someone please explain?? if they were trying to put it at a strategic distance between montreal and toronto, they could of at least put in in Kingston, not some rural town like Belleville

The best book on programming for the layman is "Alice in Wonderland"; but that's because it's the best book on anything for the layman.