"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
"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."