Linux, LPI and Future Cert: The past and the future

Ahead of a landmark month for Linux Fans, LPI and Future Cert across the globe, when we celebrate the 25th birthday of Linux in August, we thought it was a good time to take a look back at how far we have come and where we are headed for the future.

From humble beginnings, in which like-minded people with an ambitious vision, put their heads together and created the LPI, we now have an institute that promotes and trains people in an operating system that powers over 95 percent of the world’s top 500 Super Computers.

Future Cert is one of many partner organisations all over the world committed to the same ethos – promoting Free and Open Source software and offering training and Certification through LPI accredited courses.

Whilst Future Cert was formed just a year ago, the LPI was formally incorporated as a non-profit organisation in New Brunswick, Canada on October 25, 1999. The story of its beginning really are humble, as we mentioned.

In his own words in an article from 1999 Dan York said that before 1999 the idea for a Linux Certification program “existed only in the minds and discussions of individuals and small groups of people living in different locations and all working separately.”

However, a series of events between 1998 and 1999 led to these groups coming together with one vision. This formed the mission statement for the LPI, which is:

“We believe in the need for a standardized, multi-national and respected program to certify levels of individual expertise in Linux. This program must be able to satisfy the requirements of Linux professionals, as well as organizations which would employ or contract them.

Our goal is to design and deliver such a program from within the Linux community, using both volunteer and hired resources as necessary. We resolve to undertake a well-considered, open, disciplined development process, leading directly to the establishment of a recognized and widely-endorsed Linux Certification body.”

Today the LPI brings together an active and committed community of companies, IT professionals, training organisations and volunteers to achieve LPI’s programs. LPI’s industry standard Certifications are delivered in thousands of locations worldwide, in multiple languages and with the support of employers, vendors, and trainers.

And so, fast-forward 17 years where are we today? Well…significantly more advanced and with a growing network of LPI partners and an army of avid Linux fans. But, and it’s a big but. There is still a long way to go.

There is still a huge lack of young people coming through into the Open Source community and taking up Linux Certification. There is not enough awareness of LPI training, and yet the industry is crying out for Linux experts. Open Source software is growing rapidly with UK businesses, but there are simply not the numbers of students coming through to meet demand.

The dominance of Microsoft and a lack of understanding within the education sector of Open Source means young people are not making informed decisions about careers in IT, a great shame given everything the industry can offer them. Linux is an infrastructure product – driving the Internet, Financial Institutions, Super Computers, Mobile Phones, to name a few and yet it is almost invisible. Most people touch Linux at least once a day but they don’t realise it. On top of that there is a huge shortage of women in the industry (though this is typical across the IT industry as a whole, and in all STEM subjects).

At Future Cert, over the next five years, we would like to see more education and awareness of Free and Open Source software, more up-take of Linux Certification from under 21s, and women of all ages, and the continued growth in Linux used within UK businesses.