I spent the whole of yesterday in London rather than in the office as it was the day of my LPI Linux Certified Professional Exam 101. Due to the nature of my work being what it is (jack of all trades and master of none: running around dealing with fifteen billion annoying things each day, etc.), I’d not spent much time revising for this at home. I’d have to rely on my poor memory.
Given that I’ve been tinkering with Linux for close to 20 years (16 years in a professional capacity), I decided to give it a go without any revision. While I have always been pretty bad at written exams, the LPI test is somewhat different in that it is computer-based. What really baffled me is that the test itself runs under Windows and is mainly multiple choice with a few “fill in the blanks”. Windows? For a LINUX exam? REALLY?
I’d have expected the LPI board to have devised exams based around the practicalities of Linux. It is an enormously customisable operating system. It is so versatile. There are many different ways to accomplish the same task. I absolutely do not believe a multiple choice test system is the best way of testing somebody’s competence of using Linux.
Give me a machine running Linux and tell me to do this or that and I can do it. Even if my memory memory recall is pretty bad, at least I have man pages to look up stuff, or the command help system (usually –help, -h or something similar) can remind me of syntax. Otherwise what’s the bloody point of having man pages at all? Even the cPanel certification system allows you the use of a server and man pages to look stuff up.
I believe the only way the LPI can go is to ditch Pearson VUE’s rather rigid, dull and expensive exam system. Expensive because it costs candidates £120 for somebody to sign me in – get me to sign an agreement not to cheat, lock my mobile phone away (I asked them if they were insured – didn’t get a response – hmmm), log me into a computer and start the exam, and then leave me in a cubicle with a printer to grab my results. £120!! FOR ONLY PART ONE OF THE EXAM!
Now if the LPI invested a bit more money in their testing systems, they could produce a lovely practical exam (perhaps utilising virtual machine testing) that could still be fully automated and deliver results instantly. I’m sure there are some clever sods on LPI’s board and management team that could devise a practical way of dealing with this. A practical exam that tests theory and practice in equal measure and doesn’t rely on mucking Windows to deliver the test.
That said, I passed.
That’s part 1 complete, part 2 to be taken within the next couple of months. I do this only for my employers. I disagree vehemently at the practices the LPI choose to test candidates and I can only hope that things will improve as I progress up each level.
Having got the the exam out the way, I got to enjoy London. Had great afternoon visting my dad, step-mum and step-sister and drinking plenty of beer, wine and brandy. Here are some highlights (of London – not the beer, wine or brandy):
My regular “seat” on South West Trains – on the floor.
Portrait of the artist about to take his LPI exam
Heading towards Old Broad Street and the LPI exam centre
Arrived a little too early, so supped a Grande Mocha for half an hour
After the exam, met up with Dad here. Notice the difference between the cold hard (almost rocket ship-like) structure against the beautiful church: