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RHCE2B.COM: Interview with Jeff Dean, Author Of a Number of Articles on Linux Certification

Oct 05, 2000, 23:58 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Randy Flood)

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"Jeffrey Dean is a freelance author and consultant in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Jeffrey has professional experience in IT management, training delivery, and system administration of the VMS, Unix, AS/400, and Windows NT operating systems. Jeffrey holds an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh, a Master of Engineering with emphasis in computer design from Penn State. He also holds both the Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) and Linux Professional Institute Level 1 (LPIC-1) certificates. He has written a series of articles on Linux Certifications..."

"To being with, how did you first begin using Linux? "

"Jeff: It's my pleasure. Linux first came to my attention in 1994 when a highly respected associate at Commodore (I was a member of the chip development group for the Amiga 3000) began suggesting it as an alternative to DOS. He had worked at Bell Labs. At Commodore he was instrumental in replacing VAX/VMS with Sun/SunOS. We were using a lot of GNU software then, including Emacs and GCC. I was an instant convert with UNIX in front of me, running on my own Sparc 4/110 workstation. I found the toolbox approach far more useful than the environment I grew up with on VMS and Topps-10 before it. I began playing around with Linux at home after that, and got serious around 1996. By that time I had survived the grueling Commodore death-spiral and landed at a startup. I advocated UNIX there to a Windows crowd, and continually looked for places to begin using Linux instead to cut costs. I also continued to play at home, and found myself very comfortable with Linux and the Red Hat distribution in particular."

"You've written numerous articles about various Linux Certifications. How does the RHCE certification compare with the other Linux certifications?"

"Jeff: It's a horse of a different color. They were probably sensitive to the "paper-MCSE" stereotype still popular in the IT world, something I've seen first hand. I think Red Hat intended to make their program stand out by including proctored hands-on portions. There are two of these, a debugging session and a configuration session, plus a short written exam. It would be impossible to get past these hands-on portions without really understanding what's going on. Unlike a PC-based test, there's no way to cram for the hands-on segments of the RHCE. Even if you know exactly what to expect, you still need to understand how to fix and configure Linux to pass."

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