A Web-Based Linux Training Course

The president of Future Technologies describes his FTLinux Course training program for Linux.
Certification or Not?

This is another interesting question. The answer must be vendor-independent. Linux is not a single vendor, but comes from many working together. To be certified on Linux means to know Linux regardless of distribution. After learning the distributions, students can then study Networking (covered in the System Integrator course), X (covered in the X Window course), Programming (covered in the WebMaster: HTML Programming, X Window and Programming courses), System Administration (covered in the relative course) and so on.

Instead of becoming certified, the student must become a master or guru. The word “certified” means certified by someone or some company. A single, fixed choice in Linux is wrong. Linux is a successful operating system because it is horizontal; it is graphical, supports shell programming from the command line, supports binaries from other operating systems, includes games, is stable, is serious, is funny—it is everything. Having a certificate in Linux should mean knowing about all Linux topics and all Linux distributions, not just one.

Who Are the Linux Experts?

A Linux expert may be a young hacker or an old UNIX expert. The UNIX experts need to know how Linux is different from UNIX. For example, Linux kernel compilation is completely different from any previous UNIX models. The concept of kernel modules and the kernel organization is new, so the “old” UNIX experts will need to learn it. From the other side, both the great and young Linux experts should study the UNIX story. Linux history starts with the UNIX story, not from Torvalds' first kernel release. The kernel was the conclusive link in a long chain including the GNU software, the X Window System, TeX and other freeware.

Going Further on Training

During the first months of 2000, FTLinuxCourse (also called Fast Training Linux Course) will reach version 3.0. In this version, we will expand the Linux Command Reference from 163 commands with examples to 1,000. We will also include a search tool and an analytical index. We will cover more on Tcl/Tk, Python, Perl and other programming tools.

At the moment, FTLinuxCourse includes the course on CD-ROM and a Linux CD-ROM. The GOLD edition comes with a course for Caldera, Red Hat and SuSE, along with their respective CD-ROMs. We are talking to an Italian publishing company about presenting FTLinuxCourse and to Sun Italy about including StarOffice. When this step is concluded, FTLinuxCourse users will have a complete course with more than 1,000 questions and answers, a Linux distribution and StarOffice. In February 2000, we will begin to develop a DVD version—a video course for Linux in all languages.

We are also working on a new project called “Linux Web Campus”. Like a university campus, we will recruit Linux experts as teachers and teach people from the Web. Linux enthusiasts can subscribe to a specific course from any city in the world and take classes on the Web. The campus is based on the original “Learning Networks” idea. In the beginning, we plan to use only HTML pages to teach Linux and test Linux knowledge with CGI exams. The final goal of LinuxWebCampus is to create Linux experts who can teach Linux to others, from the same web campus or elsewhere.

Another project is creating Linux Utilities (dedicated to Peter Norton), to simplify Linux tasks such as kernel recompilation. This project will also extend Linux from a UNIX point of view. These utilities will be offered for download from the LinuxUtilities.org web site or on a CD-ROM at low cost.

The last project involves teaching customers how to build their own Linux distribution. This is a very futuristic project. We will develop utilities to locate, test and install remote Linux programs. We will show how to create a minimal Linux distribution including the Caldera LIZARD (available for free at OpenLinux.org), the RPM from Red Hat, KDE, our LinuxUtilities and other FT applications.



Dr. Orlando is the author of FTLinuxCourse and the president of Future Technologies, Italy. His degree is in mathematics. He founded Future Technologies in 1994, in Pordenone, near Venice. Future Technologies started as a consulting company for UNIX support, programming and training. He can be reached at gorlando@futuretg.com.