Open Source Essentials is Essential


Over three years ago Evan Leibovitch and I started advocating for a certification that we nicknamed “BOSS: The Business of Open Source Software”.

The motivation for creating this certification was two-fold. We wanted to reach out to managers of Open Source technical people and give them a path to become members of LPI. We often found that these managers (while technically trained in other ways or not technically trained at all) made decisions that affected Open Source technical people.

From my own experience at Digital Equipment Corporation starting in 1994 there were many managers who did not understand the business model of Open Source, the many licenses, the interaction of those licenses between each other or closed source licenses, how using software from suppliers that were not under contract might affect release schedules, and any number of other things.

In addition, while some managers would send engineers to trade shows to answer customers’ questions (paying the engineers salary plus travel expenses and registration fees), fewer managers would send engineers to technical conferences and particularly ones on “free software”.

Unfortunately we also found managers who thought they understood the business of Open Source software, but were relying on information and business practices of long ago or had never really studied it.

Evan and I also identified other potential audiences for this knowledge. Intellectual Property (IP) lawyers, salespeople, HR people, marketing people, and even other people involved with closed source software. There was, and is, a lot of misinformation out there.

Evan and I felt very strongly about this certification and eventually we made the case to the Board of LPI and the staff.

The staff felt that we should develop a certificate first, to bring the concepts to as many people as possible, particularly since much of the information is slower changing than a technical certification. A certificate, with its lifetime viability, was a much better value proposition to the holder. Over time LPI might develop a more in-depth certification.

So LPI developed the “Open Source Essentials” program. As with all of our other “essentials”, we will publish the list of objectives and (over time) provide freely available training materials as well.

For all of the people who have tried to convince their managers about using Open Source and have encountered the manager who says “I know all I need to know about Open Source,” just show them the objectives.

Carpe Diem!

Jon “maddog” Hall, Board Chair
Linux Professional Institute

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About Jon "maddog" Hall:

Jon "maddog" Hall is the Chairman of the Board of the Linux Professional Institute. Since 1969, Mr. Hall has been a programmer, systems designer, systems administrator, product manager, technical marketing manager, author and educator, currently working as an independent consultant. Mr. Hall has concentrated on Unix systems since 1980 and Linux systems since 1994, when he first met Linus Torvalds and correctly recognized the commercial importance of Linux and Free and open source Software. Mr. Hall has traveled the world speaking on the benefits of open source Software having received his BS in Commerce and Engineering from Drexel University, and his MSCS from RPI in Troy, New York.

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