[Linux-aus] Interview with Mark Lloyd from ACS on compulsory accreditation

Brent Wallis brent.wallis at gmail.com
Fri Sep 29 09:22:02 UTC 2006


On 9/29/06, Janet Hawtin <lucychili at gmail.com> wrote:

> Accreditation by a national body does not in my mind prove an
> assurance of quality of work. Work can be of any quality once the
> person has paid up in the academic and membership sense.
> To my mind the system has nothing to offer which can not be provided
> by the excellent peer review available through the FOSS community and
> access to transparent technologies using open source.

I agree, but  there is a ongoing and growing problem in the FOSS
community...in the IT industry as a whole.

Now that Linux is becoming mainstream, every person who can fix uncle
Harry's PC is coming out of the woodwork and presenting themselves as

An analysis of my charged time over the last 2 years (SMB market BTW)
indicates almost 25% of the work was for "fixing" other peoples lame
screw ups. I have spent many hours with new clients in an effort to
have them keep their Linux installs...even though their experience was
to say the least "bad". In most cases, the "bad" was caused by poor
implementation and charlatans. I have won some and lost some in that
regard. Most businesses are risk averse and are unwilling to expose
themselves to the same trouble.

A bad Linux installation almost always means that the business in
question will never look at it again....the MS guys have a penchant
for finding these people and they love telling the press about how it
was LINUX and not the tech/s that caused their woes.

National Accreditation with a honorable professional body is something
that is meant to address these issues, but as you rightly point out,
in it's current form this "intention" is getting lost.

IMHO, FOSS and Linux adoption is being hurt by unscrupulous vendors,
consultants and fake "technicians". This not unique in FOSS
either....I am sure everyone has met the arrogant MCSE ..... It's not
new but the problem is growing.... The thing is that it affects FOSS
more than guys like MS because of the herd mentality...(eg: if in
doubt go for the most popular... or in the case of politics, if in
doubt, vote for the incumbent)

Something needs to be done... so far, the Industry as a whole has
settled on a flawed model....as you rightly point out, a centralised
system of accreditation is not conducive to FOSS because of the
"lockout" of techs with major clue who just so happen to not have a

I have a degree ... done late, and I used to think that it was worth
something......but I have had to work with a couple of illiterate IT
Masters Grads of late... which for me indicates that even a degree
these days is not worth the paper its written on.

I have often thought that a "clue-toe-cratic" (sic ;-) )method of
accreditation would be better. That is, a scale of competency based on
the spread of knowledge in a given population. The more someone can
"show their know to the community", the more they rise to the top.

In some ways this mirrors  the FOSS dev model.

Only those above an agreed level of PROVEN competency would get the cred ...
It would be subject to constant and unrelenting  peer review...

I believe the parts needed to make this work are already there:
- Strong orgs like LA and OSIA that can guide (not decide
) the accreditation process.
- A community with enough smarts to make it work.
- A community with individuals who can help set (and judge) a very
high level of quality in the outcome.
- A baseline to start working with namely LPI.

Businesses need a way to tell if the tech standing in front of them is
good or not. There will always be good and bad in every profession,
but the community needs to let the rest of the world know what is
considered as technically competent and what factors go towards
creating a masterful FOSS technician.

Is there not a way that we can leverage the peer review mechanisms in
FOSS to acheive scales of competency that businesses can refer to?
Getting it right would be difficult, but the results would have the
potential to really boost FOSS adoption and retention.


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