The open-source Linux operating system is freely available to those who want to use it, but finding good sources of training for Linux has not always been as free. In a move to further enable more people to get Linux training, the Linux Foundation is now opening up its education efforts.
The Linux Foundation is now working with edX to build a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for Linux training. EdX is a nonprofit online learning platform started by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2012.
Amanda McPherson, vice president of marketing and developer programs at the Linux Foundation, told eWEEK that edX was a natural choice for her organization.
"It is the only major platform that is both a nonprofit and fully open-source," McPherson said.
However, edX is not currently a member of the Linux Foundation, she said.
One of the first courses that the Linux Foundation will be working on with edX is an Introduction to Linux course. The Linux Foundation had been charging participants $2,500 to attend the course.
The Linux Foundation's Introduction to Linux course is very popular, but there is a need to make more materials available to more people, McPherson said. "This course will be free as a MOOC, and we're happy to donate it to increase the number of people who can access the material," she said. "There is huge, unmet demand for Linux expertise in the market, and this can start to help address that."
While the MOOC will be offered via edX for free, McPherson noted that the Introduction to Linux course will still be available as a corporate, onsite course for a fee from The Linux Foundation.
Training Partner Program
Looking beyond just edX, the Linux Foundation is also starting a new authorized training partner program to expand the reach of Linux education to more locations. The first partners in the program include AT Computing, Enea, OlinData and SolutionWare.
"We chose these partners due to their existing commitments to Linux and open source and for the geographical locations," McPherson said. "We hope more people in more places around the world will be able to take advantage of our training materials with these partnerships."
McPherson added that the authorized training partners complement the edX effort as both are part of a common goal to make more Linux learning material available to more people. Neither the edX effort nor the authorized training partner programs, however, currently lead to any formal IT certification effort.
The Linux Foundation recently published its annual Linux Jobs Report, which once again found that demand for Linux IT professionals is growing. According to the report, 77 percent of hiring managers listed hiring Linux talent as a priority in 2014, which is up from 70 percent in 2013.
"We must invest in Linux training and make it accessible to as many people as possible in as many locations around the world as possible," McPherson said. "Expect a lot more from us this year in this area."
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.