freebsd training/certification

Ted Mittelstaedt tedm at
Mon Jan 3 00:31:52 PST 2005

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-freebsd-questions at
> [mailto:owner-freebsd-questions at]On Behalf Of Jayton Garnett
> Sent: Sunday, January 02, 2005 4:45 PM
> To: freebsd-questions at
> Subject: freebsd training/certification
> Hello,
> I am wondering if there are any training/certification courses that I
> could take to become a FreeBSD guru?

The only one I know was discussed here:

With a link here:

But I must warn you it is non-credit, non-accredited.  It's also quite a bit
more costly than going down to the local community college.

Nor do they guarentee to make you a "guru"

Of course, the other vendor certifications, such as that from Microsoft, are
also non-credit, non-accredited, and have no guarentee to make you a guru

> I have been using the OS for over a year now and have become very
> familiar with installation/configuration but would like to be able to
> add some sort of certification to my CV.

There is really no point in doing that.  The above course might be good
to train you, but it's value as a pure "sheepskin" is nonexistent.  You
might as easily make up a certificate on a desktop publishing program
if that is all you want it for.

Certifications, ie: non-accredited coursework, are primariarly valuable in
accordance to the 'brand' they carry.  With all due respect to NJIT, nobody
has heard of the "FreeBSD Certificate" they offer.  By contrast, a MCSE,
well everyone has heard of Microsoft and thus one of those certificates is
much more valuable.

If you want to spend your money on coursework, spend it on accredited
courses that are transferable to any college or university.

> Also how much of a "threat" is Solaris 10 x86 to FreeBSD

None.  Two different markets.  People buy Solaris because they need it to
run commercial programs (typically UNIX binaries) that require it.  People
setup FreeBSD because they need a UNIX that runs UNIX source code programs.

While it is possible to compile Open Source programs on Solaris (indeed,
Sun has already done this for many of the popular ones) speaking as an
admin that runs a shop that does this in production, there is little point
in doing it.  Both  Solaris and FreeBSD run whatever open source software
you want to run well enough for production.  But Sun isn't going to support
an Open Source program that you compile on their operating system, unless
you have purchased the Sun compiler, the Sun development tools and have a
Sun service contract, and very few shops do this as it is quite costly.
We don't do it and to be honest the only reason we do run Solaris in
is that one of the admins here is more comfortable with it than with
FreeBSD.  Since the application that runs on it is his responsibility and
I have no desire to micromanage, it runs Solaris.

> and how come
> FreeBSD is not as popular as RH/Fedora?

Because of the same reason that Microsoft booted Apple out of the personal
computer market.  It was a favorable congruence of factors.  None of the
people who are the recognized 'movers and shakers' in this deal, such as Bob
really had any idea at the time that they were doing the Right Things.

Bob isn't any different than 99% of businessman walking around today
except that he was extremely lucky.  Very much the Bill Gates story.

It is easy now to look back and realize that 1996 and 1997 were 'nexus'
years for Open Source.  Bob got involved in Linux years earlier not because
Linux was better but simply because the first people to show him Open
Source UNIX happened to be running Linux.  If they had been running FreeBSD
then today FreeBSD would be the darling of the trade rags.  Or, if someone
else had been doing the same thing in 1996 and 1997
with FreeBSD, then today FreeBSD and Linux would be equivalent in the
trade rags.

These years were critical for UNIX primariarly because of Windows 95
coming out with a usable TCP/IP stack.  Prior to Windows 95, TCP/IP
on a desktop OS was expensive, the IP stacks at that time cost more than
DOS or Windows.  Once Windows 95 came out with TCP/IP  (and to a lesser
extent, Windows for Workgroups 3.11) it in conjunction with SAMBA
cracked the door to an alternative server OS.

Here's a list of all the things that came together in 1996-1997 that
brought Linux and to a lesser extent FreeBSD, into the realm of commercial
alternatives for server operating systems:

1) The failure of Novell with Netware 4
2) A free TCP/IP stack with Windows for Workgroups 3.11 and Windows 95
3) 32bit desktop computing in Win95 which got rid of the argument
between the networking stack and the applications in the desktop PC
over system resources, and allowed very large and complex networking
stacks (which TCP/IP is) on desktop PCs
4) The explosion of the Internet and huge demand for IP-aware applications
5) Microsoft didn't have a usable e-mail and web server solution for
Windows NT 3.5.1 and 4.0
6) Microsoft didn't drop the cost of their server products to freeze out
Open Source (and still hasn't which is the principle reason that industry
even considers open source to this day)  Note that Microsoft has had no
problems giving away free web browser and now streaming viewer software
in order to consolidate their hold on those markets.
7) The failure of Apple to abandon MacOS and go to UNIX as a base OS
during this time (this eventually happened as we all know, but too late)
8) The failure of all the AT&T UNIX source licensees to recognize that
the key UNIX Open Source applications that people wanted to run (web
ftp servers, e-mail, etc.) were at production quality level, and to
leverage this fact to increase the market of their UNIX products.  This
eventually happened at least with Sun who for several years gave away
Solaris server licenses for free, and even today sells the base Solaris
OS for a tenth of what they charged in 1996.
9) The fact that in order to maintain backwards compatability Microsoft
was forced to retain all the "workgroup style" NetBIOS networking code in
Windows, which allowed SAMBA to become a player.

And finally, one of the big motivators was the dot-com boom which put what
was obscenly high competitive pressures on the startup ISP's at the time -
the ISP's that tried to build systems the old-fashioned-way, with Solaris
servers and such, had far too high overhead to compete with the startup
ISP's who used FreeBSD and Linux.  Because most of the startup ISPs were
run by technical gurus (nobody else around knew anything about how the
Internet worked) a huge amount of work was poured into both Linux and
FreeBSD at that time.

By the time that the FreeBSD Project tried taking things more commercial
with the Walnut Creek/BSDI merger, it was 4 years later and it was too
late for it.  Not to mention that by then, the normal business cycle of
boom/bust had started heading down.  The 90's were an extremely high
boom period for technology, and as the saying goes, the higher you climb
the harder you fall, and a serious bust was imminent.  The US election
putting a deficit spender in the White House followed by 9-11 further
worsened the economic crisis in technology.

It is important to realize today, however, that the story is still
Microsoft is still the 900 pound gorilla in the commercial realm and
they are still sufficiently unpredictable to know what they are going
to do in the future.  We are also still going through a shakeout in the
technology industry and most businesses are being very conservative on
new IT projects and on changing things around.  This probably won't
change much for another 3 years.  People had a lot of changes in 1995-2000
and overall they aren't interested in going through this again, they
would rather coast for awhile.  By 2010-2015 a lot of the old guard by
then will be retired and out of the loop and we will be dealing with
a really fscked up economy with the baby boomers and there's going to
be a need for businesses to look at new ways of doing things in order
to survive.


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