LPI Shares Plans and Services with Asia-Pacific Partners
It is great to see partners of the Linux Professional Institute (LPI) getting together and sharing ideas with LPI. This article reports the major topics of the first Asia-Pacific APAC Partner Meeting, which took place on November 19, 2021. LPI partners and potential partners gathered virtually to be oriented or re-oriented about the benefits and responsibilities that partners and LPI have toward each other. We must truly be partners in LPI’s mission to promote the use of open source by supporting the people who work with it.
The Partner Meeting was an important and successful one. New programs and initiatives at LPI were discussed, along with adjustments to existing programs. You can review the recordings for an in-depth look at each of our presentations and discussions.
This very special event was hosted by Kaitlin Edwards, Community Events Manager of LPI, who is based in Canada. During the event, partners were able to meet the LPI Asia Pacific Partnering team, composed of Evan Leibovitch, who is based in Canada and is also one of the founders of LPI; Kenji Ito, who is based in Japan; and Jolly Villaviza, who is based in the Philippines. We thank all the partners and potential partners who attended the event.
The Benefits of Partner Programs
Rafael Peregrino da Silva provided an overview of the partner programs offered by LPI. Rafael is LPI's Director of Partnerships and Sponsorships, and has a long track record as a free and open source software (FOSS) supporter and promoter.
Rafael discussed the importance of open source, which is central to LPI’s mission, explained where to find open source (almost anywhere), and the benefits of using FOSS.
Rafael answered a question on many minds in the audience: Why partner with LPI? You can count on LPI to help your organization meet common goals:
- Building public trust in your offerings and the software you cover.
- Bolstering your community of professionals and partners.
- Providing support to our communities.
- Expanding the world of open source even further.
Our biggest strength in our shared mission is the services and education offered by LPI’s Academic Partners, Training Partners, Channel Partners, Community Partners, Solution Providers, Hiring Partners, Publishing Partners, and Corporate Sponsors. These bring the powerful tools and cost-saving benefits of open source to all parts of the globe.
LPI partnership in turn adds value to what the partners already have. Generally, partnership is enjoyed without any fee and needs just a commitment to certify a certain number of students each year. Partners also have access to discounts that rise with the level of commitment. They are legally authorized to use LPI’s Approved Partner Logos.
Partners are also part of LPI’s website listings and published articles, have access to LPI’s partner portal, and get an LPI welcome kit or brochure that contains all the links and information needed to grow our partnership in promoting open source. Further benefits include complimentary professional development exam vouchers, along with access to LPI’s trainer program and complimentary courseware and learning material content with cobranding options.
LPI Grants: Tools For Funding Partner Progress
Our Grant Program also fosters the LPI mission, and was the subject of a presentation by Kenneth Armstrong, LPI Training Advisor. Kenny has worked with UNIX-like operating systems since he was introduced to them while serving in the U.S. military in the late 1990s. Kenny has been involved with the Linux community since then in various capacities, such as teaching Linux for a variety of training organizations and deploying Linux in large-scale businesses and in local government institutions, especially large universities.
The Grant Program provides an opportunity for the community to further their goals for the use of open source technologies with funds provided by LPI. Typical applications to the Program include paying development costs for projects, supporting the purchase of hardware that runs open source software for projects, and offsetting costs for marketing certifications at community events.
Kenny’s session covered how to apply for grants with the help of the Partner Success Manager working with you. The Grant Application is very simple and consists of filling out information about the partner organization, the requested activity, the funding requested, return on investments, and success criteria.
LPI Learning Materials: A Resource For All
Dr. Markus Wirtz guided us through the LPI Learning Materials program, which support trainers and learners in preparing for the LPI exams. Markus’s presentation described the motives and goals of the project, its organizational and technical basics, and its benefits for trainers and partners. He also issued an invitation to become part of this worldwide community of authors and translators and to contribute to the free materials.
Markus studied Slavic studies and musicology and initially worked for SUSE. In 2003, he founded the publishing house Open Source Press in Munich (Germany) and managed it until 2017. In 2018, he started working at LPI as the Manager of Education Programs.
Learning Materials map directly to topics in certification exams, are freely available on the LPI web site for non-commercial use, are kept up to date with the exams through rolling releases, are classroom or curriculum ready, and require no specialized technical background. The Learning Materials are a community and volunteer project led by LPI that also includes work from the LPI Publishing Partner. Many of the materials are now in nine languages—German, English, Spanish, French, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Polish and Portuguese—with 45 contributors, 428 lessons, 247,000 lines of codes, and 4,200 commits. For our partners, the co-branded Learning Materials can be ordered inside the Partner Portal, which is discussed later in this article.
Markus then went on to introduce StartIT. These documents offer fundamental knowledge about the most important fields of information technology.
LPIC-3 and Other Updates to the Certification Program
The certification program was discussed by Fabian Thorns, Director of Product Development at LPI. He has a Masters of Science in Business Information Systems and is a regular speaker at open source events and the author of numerous articles and books. Fabian has been part of the exam development team since 2010.
In this presentation, Fabian discussed a recent update to existing certifications and the creation of the LPIC-3 certifications. Most critically, the update was done in response to changes in technology and skill demands, to ensure that LPI’s comprehensive, high-level certification program provides a demonstration of the candidate’s technical proficiency.
Recalibrating LPI’s Pricing Plan to the Benefit of the APAC Region
On January 1, 2022, prices for LPI exams changed in many countries. As part of our mission to make our exams as globally accessible as possible, we have re-adjusted our price by country to reflect the United Nations Human Development Index and other factors, such as wealth inequality. The pricing matrix is also being simplified, with just four pricing tiers replacing the 17 tiers we have now.
Evan Leibovitch, LPI’s Director of Community Relations and one of the organizations' co-founders, is a longtime advocate of open computing and open source. He was ZDNet's first Linux-specific columnist and has participated in numerous conferences, nonprofits, policy initiatives, and white papers. Before rejoining LPI in 2017 he worked for the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), bringing Internet access and work opportunities to refugee centres in Egypt, Uganda, and Kenya. He was co-founder and first president of the Canada Chapter of the Internet Society, and first Chair of the North American At-Large advisory body of ICANN. We congratulate him for being elected President of the Toronto Linux User Group a day before this event.
The price change could be the highlight of this event, reflecting our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and our goal to make LPI certifications more accessible to students and professionals. Adjusting the prices in accordance with the United Nations statistics on country wealth and inequality is very good news to the APAC region, because most of the prices in these countries are dropping significantly.
As mentioned above, LPI will be simplifying its pricing matrix. This has now been reduced to four price tiers. Also the currency of exam prices will be simplified and clearer: Euro-zone countries will pay in euros, Japan will pay in yen, and everywhere else will pay in the local equivalent of US dollars.
Training partner discounts remain unchanged and in effect for all tiers, according to the discount level indicated in each partner agreement. Channel partner commissions will not be available for exams delivered in tier 4 (lowest price) locations.
Partners who have purchased vouchers in 2021Q4, in a location where exam prices are being reduced, are eligible for a credit of the difference in price. Anyone holding such vouchers should contact their Partner Success Manager. Vouchers purchased before October 1, 2021 or by individuals are not eligible for credit or refund.
The details on this session can now be found on the LPI pricing web site.
Why the LPI Partner Portal is good for partners
Max Roveri is a writer, blogger, editor, and social media manager. He started writing on the internet in the late '90s and returned to the digital media in 2009. Since 2014, he has lived in Ireland, and since 2015 he has been part of the LPI Italy team. He is professionally involved in cultural mediation projects, with an event management side, and in education projects as a professional and as a volunteer.
Max Roveri gave an in-depth look at the partner portal: the virtual dashboard set up by LPI for its partners in a completely open source environment. This session gave guidance through the platform's features and the benefits, and why they are important to partners.
Partners and potential partners have access to the Partner Portal and are able to do basic management there. It gives information regarding the partnership and offers specific tools for Training and Academic Partners, Hiring Partners and Channel Partners, as follows:
- Members of the LPI Authorized Training Partner (LPI-ATP) and LPI Approved Academic Partner (LPI-AAP) programs can manage their instructors and students in the portal.
- Channel partners can input new leads that they are working on in their portal.
- Hiring partners can post job offers and manage applicants through theirs.
The portal, as mentioned earlier in the talk by Marcus, is also where partners can request Learning Materials bearing the logos of both LPI and the partner company. Most importantly, it is the place to order vouchers or create coupons for their students, trainees, and partners who wish to take LPI certification exams.
Because we want every partner to use the portal to automate the support LPI can give, the Documents module contains anan orientation, which plays a role in each partner’s onboarding.
All in all, the first APAC Partner Meeting was a very productive and informative event. We congratulate and thank everyone for attending the meeting, because this all happened because of our partners. We look forward to seeing everyone at the bigger and better LPI Asia Pacific Meeting in 2022.