Linux in Government: Planning for Open-Source Application Deployments

Linux desktop releases will be fast and furious in 2005. Here are some suggestions of what to do now so your office or agency can take advantage of them.
Start Looking for a Linux Guru

Government agencies can get a head start on open source demand this year by hiring candidates with strong Linux skills. The market will surprise you when you start looking for people with essential Linux system administration skills, because they demand lower salaries than one might expect.

Good Linux people tend to have trained themselves and know how to work on other operating systems, such as Windows and UNIX. They also tend to know more about networking, desk-side support and trouble shooting than a typical Windows engineer does. Linux people also can mentor and train staff. In short, Linux gurus save you a lot of money, because they know where to find free software and how to use it.

One caveat: good Linux administrators typically do not have certification. If you specify certification in your job descriptions, prepare yourself for a letdown. Linux people rarely seek to prove their skills by taking exams. If you do find applicants with certification, you might take a cautious approach, as they often lack the depth of experience you probably need.

Final Notes

In future articles, we explain open-source alternatives in greater depth and show you how Linux can provide a low-cost and secure solution for government offices and agencies wishing for more security and increased productivity.

Tom Adelstein lives in Dallas, Texas, with his wife, Yvonne, and works as a Linux and open-source software consultant with Hiser+Adelstein, headquartered in New York City. He's the co-author of the book Exploring the JDS Linux Desktop and the upcoming book Essential Linux System Administration, to be published by O'Reilly and Associates. Tom has been writing articles and books on Linux since early 1999.



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Before Deployment

Bob Kerr's picture

To help with a smooth transition and training it is a valuable excercise to give out Free software to your users before migration and deployment. Giving out copies of TheOpenCD

complete with appropriate liability statement, will not only give your users a first look into some of the programs that they may be using but also start them understanding the philosophy behind Free and Open source software. By helping their neighbours, family and friends will help them understand why the migration is taking place.

Migration planning

Doug St. Julien's picture

If you filter out the distro specifics ( DO NOT discount Novell SuSE as a viable supported option!), Novell's site has some excellent planning insights that are generally applicable no matter what distro you go with.

Re: Start Looking for a Linux Guru

Anonymous's picture


you're the first person who mentions the fact that people with Linux skills usually don't have certification. I think it's really important to show governments that there are a lot of people around having much more knowledge than expected.

Thank you for these words.

It is true that the certifica

Anonymous's picture

It is true that the certificate does not mean much, but you will need a way to show people your experiences. A good way is to participate in some open-source project which there are plenty out there. Helping open-source development will help yoour resume looks much better.

A certificate does not mean much

Hermann Peifer's picture

This is indeed true. A true Linux guru's qualification can be easily checked via a Google search. For me, this is the easiest way to verify what people have done recently.


Re: Start Looking for a Linux Guru

daemons_advoc8's picture

Certification is not important, the most important thing is that you can do evrything under the sun even without certification.

Linux Guru and Certification

Amy Wohl's picture

Starting last year I began to hear from several groups (certification groups and Linux training groups) suggesting that they're looking at how to provide appropriate Linux certification. I think we'll start to see some this year.