Linux Professional Institute – LPI

I finished LPI-201 and LPI-202 today. These are the two tests for the Linux Professional Institute Level 2 certification. If you don’t partake in the certification treadmill for fun and profit, you may want to check out LPI‘s website for more information. Basically there are three levels which are more difficult as you go higher. There are a pair of tests per level, with the third level having a Core exam, and eventually a number of electives which you’ll need to take one of. As of now, there’s only one elective. It may be worth noting to the Ubuntu fans out there that the Ubuntu Certified Professional / UCP is the LPIC-1 (LPI-101 + LPI-102) + LPI-199, a Canonical sponsored exam.

As with all of the proctored CBT tests, you agree not to talk about said tests. Since a number of people wrote an entire book about it (which I studied with) I think I’m safe to rant a bit.

After studying last night, I was laying around thinking about rdev/rootflags, trying to remember if I had used such arcane beasts ever. LPI wants you to know how to compile and patch kernels. I never do this on a regular basis anymore, except maybe on gentoo when I’m bored. It’s worth knowing for sure, but kernel patching seems so 90s to me, as long as you’re not a developer. And if you are, why aren’t you using git?

I realized I’ve been using Linux for over 10 years now. I hate saying something like that on principle, but it was a strange thought. It brought me back to installing slackware from floppy disks on Jason’s box (whose site appears down right now) because he didn’t have a cdrom. And hand soldering a PLIP cable because we couldn’t afford network cards. The first kernel I compiled, must have been 1.2.13 or so, compiled for three days straight before it failed. The next attempt succeeded, so I have no idea what went wrong. We always compiled on my box because it had the fast 486DX in it, a present from my parents.

Anyways, I was disappointed by the LPI format. I would have preferred simulations like Cisco or Microsoft have pulled off so well. LPI is mostly (totally) multiple choice and fill in the blanks. The latter amounts to questions like enter pieces of bind semi-obscure bind configs (or worse, innd) and asking you to type the full command with options for some disk function with fsck. Some of these I happen to know. Some I’ll go along with being reasonable questions, like tar options or maybe even cpio or the likes. But start asking me about innd flags, and you’re getting ‘man innd’ as my FITB answer. I realize Linux administration is a broad category, and there needs to be coverage, but I’d prefer to testing done on comprehension, rather than how many flags I can memorize.

I’m not going to bother with the new LPIC-3 for a while. There’s no study materials out there yet AFAIK as its always so new and you’re always playing roulette with tests you’re not prepared for. Like taking the MS SQL 2000 Administration exam only to find no materially on installation. That was a shock, especially with so much of the Microsoft Press book dedicated to the subject. Back to the Cisco treadmill it looks like.

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