I was out of the office last week when most of this thread took place.  So,
sorry for the delayed response.

Chuck - the ICV program with MS is a yearly fee for the certification program.
The ICV pays approximately $1000 as an ICV membership fee.  Then the ICV pays a
third party "review" company an additional fee for every exam product reviewed,
approximately $1,800.  The certification review company is Pembroke/iCert.  I
don't know if they are related to MS or not. . . but my guess would be yes.  The
approval is based upon mapping the course objectives to the corresponding place
in text or media where that objective is covered; the ICV provides the actual
mapping, the reviewer makes sure that it does indeed map as stated, and covers
all of the objectives of the exam.  Usually the review is completed within 2-4

The approach of having the vendor pay the review company for each review, as
well as pay LPI for the ICV-type membership fee may help with the cash flow
issue for LPI review process. Product gains credibility with the "approval logo"
- We accept that there is a cost of doing business in paying for the "ICV
membership fee, and the program/product review fee".

I have to echo many of the comments made late last week and early this week.  As
a vendor in the cert industry, it is important to me that we have approval from
LPI on our Linux certification product.

Ok - thats it for me at the moment.  I'm weeding through another 100 emails.
I'll share more as I get through the later threads.

Angie Wethington
Macmillan Computer Publishing

-----Original Message-----
From: Chuck Mead <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> at internet
Sent: Thursday, June 24, 1999 5:33 PM
Cc: Corporate Relations <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> at INTERNET
Subject: RE: A task for Corprel! [LONG]

On Thu, 24 Jun 1999, Jared Buckley spewed into the bitstream:
> Chuck Mead wrote:
> > >     1)        Should we engage in granting our seal of approval to
> > >       various vendors courseware and training programs?
> > >       PROS:
> > >
> > >           o   Additional future source of revenue for LPI.
> > >           o   Creates a tie-in that should increase
> > >               participation and visibility.
> > >           o   Gives us some measure of control over how
> > >               the programs are developed.
> >
> > Add... satisfies repeated, current, corporate requests.
> Agreed, and a very important point.  A lot of industry enthusiasm gives
> us the opportunity to take a leadership position that differentiates us
> from other cert. programs.

It's begun to take on the form of a demand as opposed to a simple request...
here's a sample (edited to protect privacy!):

#begin quote
Subject: LPI Certified Linux training [corrected message]

Dear Chuck and Evan,
                    I urgently need to get details, and take action, on LPI
certified Linux Training.  If I am writing to the wrong people, could you please
forward this message to the appropriate member of Linuxcare/LPI staff?  If you
previously received a variant of this message, please ignore it --- I'm having
teething problems with my new email configuration.

As you may know, we are Europe's leading provider of Linux training.  We
have, for example, already helped Dell, Compaq and IBM with their
European Linux programs and are currently writing the UK government's
specifications for certified Linux Training.  We also distribute our
copyrighted Linux training materials as open source.

At the moment we are turning away international customers, because of
our current inability to award globally recognised certificates from
yourselves, Red Hat, SUSE, etc.  This is clearly not satisfactory.

Given our contacts with UK and EU government on the one hand, and the
major European IT Distributors on the other, we though you might be
interested in working with us to develop and deliver an EU-endorsed
system of certification.

If that sounds too ambitious, could you at least tell us the fastest possible
way to deliver LPI certified Linux training to our customers?
#end quote

Suffice it to say that there are a pile more just like this from around the
world and though they are polite they are all insistent and urgent. We set out
to fill a void and must come to grips with the fact that once begun things tend
to take on a life of their own! It would be impossible to stop it now. In short,
the old adage, "Be careful what you wish for... because you might get it!" is
very much in application here. These requests are no less than the seminal
attribution of LPI's success and we have to follow through or it's likely (IMHO)
that LPI will end up being a minor, bit player in the Linux cert world! We fill
this void too... or somebody else will!

> > >       CONS:
> > >
> > >           o   Requires many additional resources from LPI
> > >               including, but not limited to staffing.
> >
> > Not if it's sub-contracted to persons intimate with the LPI program... i.e.
> > of the people right here on this list and some of the others (which, I
> > it should be). The contractors assessments will require review internally
> > LPI but this is certainly no where near as burdensome as it might otherwise
> I disagree.  Even subcontracting is going to require that someone
> recruit the contractors, draw up the actual contracts, supervise their
> work, provide a means for quality assurance, and provide a dispute
> resolution process.  We're probably not going to want to single source
> this either as it will be a critical part of the approval program, so
> that means dealing with multiple suppliers.  We can move some of the
> work load to an outsourcer, but not all of it.  Even the oversight
> functions we retain will be time consuming and potentially expensive.

I agree with every single thing you're saying but it can and should be done! I
understand all the detractors you've mentioned and not one of them compares to
the benefit LPI will derive from this!

> >
> > >           o   Until a successful program gets off the ground,
> > >               approving vendor courseware will siphon funds
> > >               away from our core responsibility: test creation.
> >
> > Vendors desiring this status will pay for 100% of this process... IOW... the
> > analysis of materials is, without a doubt a professional service. The vendor
> > will pay for this as well as a license fee for the logo and the LPI name!
> > development here is based on the volunteer status of the members of this
list so
> > the net cost of the program's development to LPI is 0 (caveat: as long as
> > heed my comments about any existing or potential involvement with program or
> > exam-dev!).
> Yes, they'll all pay for it...eventually.

When a company buys a car they pay for it before they drive it off the lot. That
may not be an apt comparison but it's just about as good as I can make it. We
have a market for a product... they will buy it or they won't get it (and the
cool part is they want it so they'll pay!).

> The real problem, as we're
> seeing now in the test development arena, is generating cash flow.

How do the two compare... one is supporting our overall endeavor and it's
somewhat nebulously pointed at an attainable but an as yet non-existent program.
They're forced to compare their potential for gains in marketshare and
subsequent profit against a gift of $xxx value. In the case of this program it
is very, very different... successfully attaining our seal of approval on their
materials will lead to a direct financial gain and it's much more visible as a
prima facie goal! I am not saying we're ready to implement this program (it's
got be developed and approved first)...  but I do believe that there could be a
direct correlation between our ability to raise funds for the over-all cert
effort and our ability to present a total package program to those who will
benefit most from our efforts!

> We've got to be able to see through the operations of LPI with our
> current cash flow until accounts receivable can catch up.  That means
> for at least a little while, we'll be subsidizing this operation from
> cash reserves or test revenue.

I don't see this... (see above!).

> >
> > >           o   Creates potential ethical problems in that we're
> > >               essentially awarding preferred status to vendors.
> >
> > As they've been asking for it I don't think they're concerned with this...
> > an additional point is that it's a merit based adjudication based on their
> > content... how is that "preferred"? It's how the market works in any event.
> I don't believe that designing a merit-based adjucation system is going
> to be easy or cheap.  Plus, if there is a lot of money to be made of
> courseware, then the LPI seal of approval will become very valuable.

You've made my point... again... thanx! <grin>

> When there's big money on the table, people like to hedge their bets.

Let 'em hedge all they want. The only thing we ever promised the vendors was a
cert program... and now, as a class, they're asking for this... what are we
supposed to do... give it away, and our credibility with it? Not! They want
it... they'll pay for it... they're going to benefit from it and we will need
the revenue to maintain the overall LPI program. I'm not talking about robbery
here... I'm talking about the same doggone thing that MickeySoft does with their
ICV program or whatever they call it... it's simple "cost vs. benefit" analysis
for them, and BTW... does anybody know how much ICV costs? I know there's
somebody in here from MacMillan... Angie... do you know?

> The system will need to be designed to minimize external influences on
> awarding approval.  This also raises the question of who within LPI is
> going to be responsible for making this decision?  The Board?  The
> corprel group?  A unnamed future employee(s)?

This is what we have to decide in our draft of the program. My hope is that the
issues herein will now be picked up by some of the other, very intelligent
people on this list, as you and I could probably debate this until the cows come
home! The fact is we've got to do this... the industry expects and wants it and
they're asking for it! Whether the board approves it or not remains to be seen!

Who wants to write a draft? Do we want to write it en-masse? Whatever, let's get

  Chuck Mead  /  Director of Corporate Relations  /  Treasurer
  [EMAIL PROTECTED]  /  Linux Professional Institute  /  http://www.lpi.org/

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