New FOSS certification for non profit sector

Chris Bailey, UK ICT Hub FOSS in the VCS project, writes: As part of the work for the UK ICT Hub’s FOSS in the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) project we are developing a new certification for FOSS use by not for profits, Free and Open Source Knowledge (FOSK). We are doing this in partnership with the Linux Professional Institute (LPI) whose certification for Linux system administrators has world wide recognition.

We want to fill an important gap by developing a non-technical certification for anyone who is “responsible for recommending and/or choosing FOSS solutions for an organization”. Though the new certification is initially being designed for the UK VCS there are plans for it to be beta tested in the USA and Germany too as a step towards establishing it internationally. A FOSK certified individual will have an understanding of the Linux and FOSS environments and knowledge of the solutions available in the FOSS world together with an understanding of the issues involved in their implementation in the VCS.

We are now in the final stages of recruiting 12 Subject Matter Experts (SME) internationally who have been chosen for having a good cross section of skills and knowledge concerning FOSS use in the not for profit sector. This SME team will begin work early next week.

Interestingly it will have a majority of women on it. We think this can be a certification that will get away from the “male geek” image FOSS often still has in some quarters and encourage more women to take part in FOSS development (the figures are awfully low at the moment).

The syllabus for the certification will form the basis for FOSS trainings for the UK VCS early next year. Accessibility issues concerning FOSS use will be an important part of both the certification and the trainings.

Details of the new certification and a timeline for it’s development are now in a wiki at:

We want to involve the widest number of people from the not for profit sector in developing the certification, so we very much welcome comments and suggestions through the wiki at all stages of development of the certification, which we plan to launch on January 1st, 2008.

Registration on the wiki is open to all.

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