Novell, Thomson Design Linux Courseware

Novell is set to boost Linux training for universities with a week-long “boot camp” for Linux educators and a series of three Suse Linux Enterprise textbooks — created with Thomson Course Technology — that cover Linux use, development and advanced administration.

The new Linux courseware, to be incorporated into curricula at hundreds of colleges and universities worldwide, is a response to increased Linux use in the enterprise, as well as among college students, Novell said.

“Novell is experiencing an influx of colleges and universities that are joining our academic program particularly to access our Suse Linux Enterprise courseware and software,” Novell Vice President of Training Services Dan Veitkus told LinuxInsider. “This is in alignment with industry trends as large corporations deploy open source solutions. College and university administrators and faculty are responding to this growth and interest in Linux with their course offerings.”

Open Source Schooling

Courses related to Linux, an open source operating system developed and distributed under the General Public License, are increasingly in demand on college campuses as more businesses are using open source software, said Thomson Executive Editor Stephen Helba.

Novell is responding to that demand with its textbook series and through its “Train the Teacher” boot camp series for software and system administrator educators.

“Train the Teacher” classes are free to instructors who belong to Novell’s Academic Training Partner (NATP) program.

The textbooks will vary in price, according to Veitkus, but students could generally expect to pay about US$110 for each book, which will include a full version of Suse Linux Enterprise Server and an additional DVD with VMWare images.

Signs of Maturity

Microsoft created a Windows certification curriculum and process that has become a must for Windows system administrators. However, when it comes to enterprise Linux administration, expectations are very different, Illuminata Senior Analyst Gordon Haff told LinuxInsider.

That is not necessarily a bad thing, he said. There is always a need for training on enterprise software platforms and administration, and Novell’s program offers an opportunity for those without much experience in either Linux or Unix, he said.

Logically, as Linux use grows, so does the ecology that surrounds it, including education and training, Interarbor Founder and Principal Analyst Dana Gardner told LinuxInsider.

The better the expertise and support a company can provide for Linux, the more it can charge for that support — so education and training efforts such as Novell’s are a logical extension of the operating system’s maturity, he said.

“You’re going to see more and more organizations realize Linux will be a part of their [business] for the long term, and that they should add core competency for it, rather than take an ad hoc approach,” Gardner said.

New Linux Pros

Gardner also indicated that the increased Linux education and training represents a much more structured, standard approach to Linux expertise, and contrasts with the traditional image of the old Linux guru who wore a t-shirt, long, gray beard and tennis shoes.

The surge in the number of academic institutions throughout North America that are embracing Linux suggests a strong upcoming class of young Linux professionals, he said.

“As the list of Linux users increases, the need for Linux developers and administrators grows along with it,” he said. “The quality of the academic curricula Novell provides will help turn out high-caliber Linux professionals.”

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