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On Thu, Apr 26, 2012 at 4:36 PM, Italo Vignoli <> wrote:
Robert Ryley wrote:

1. It continues to encourage the commodification of techincal
personnel.  People just become "certs" as opposed to intelligent,
independent individuals with value to bring to an organization.  This
is a mindset that *must* be broken for FLOSS to be viable.

I totally disagree. Certification is about competence of members and
third parties, in order to allow them to sell their services and make
money out of their competence. Without the recognition of competence,
free software is not going to build any business for his volunteers.

Can you explain to me how "competence" can be assessed in the absence
of a clearly defined specification?  Can you also clarify why to you
think that the TDF is competent to make that decision, instead of
leaving it up to a discussion between potential buyers and vendors?

In my prior career, I've received training to make assessments on
whether someone is capable of returning to work, whether he/she should
receive continued compensation and rehabilitation, or if he/she has
reached a plateau and other courses of action need to be explored.
Assessing the "fit" between person and environment is hard enough, and
I would not make any *professional* recommendations without seeing
exactly what the work called for, what the employer expected, what the
employee thought, and what I could actually obeserve the employee do.
It is *absurd* to believe that some computer based test can determine
if a particular technologist is *competent* without a more thorough

If these methods worked so well, why is it that IBM repored just a few
years ago that the failure of IT projects is still around 65%?

What is a valuable solution for a particular agent (which could be a
person or group of people) depends upon the context.  It is cliche in
IT to talk about "certified" people who cannot perform in the
workplace.  We even have "certified life coaches" for goodness sake!
Software is not a widget that is amenable to a cookbook, unthinking
application of statistical process control.  Nor is the selection and
implementation of effective technical people something that can be
"assessed" via Computer Assisted Testing.

I could spend hours writing out case studies where this process of
"certification" has lead to the commodification of various trades and
professions, but I won't.

Idealistic concepts like recognition of individual value are not leading anywhere, as history 

Not leading anywhere for whom?

Do you want to engage in life or death struggle every day, where
either you chop your opponent's head off, or he chops yours?

The concept is exactly the opposite. Competence allows to sell services
at a fair rate. Look at RedHat: they certify the competence of their
third parties, and their third parties build a business on it.

Who determines what is "fair?"  Red Hat is a poor example.  They are a
for profit company trying to build a brand and sell their services.
Unfortunately, they are the *de facto* standard for assessing Linux
competence, even when their assessment might be less than relevant.
The LPI does not provide as much status.

The TDF is a non profit trying to spur the adoption of open source
software, and I would hope, provide an *entrepreneurial* outlet for
independent developers to benefit the community and make a comfortable
living being self employed, as opposed to being an employee.

2. In whose interest is the TDF working for -- the developers of LO
and its extensions, or the corporate enterprise?

TDF is working to create an ecosystem around LibreOffice, where members
- including developers, but also non developers - are able to monetize
their competence because it is recognized.

Recognized by whom?  Competence is in the eye of the beholder, not
some objective quality that can be measured.  I've worked in health
care for over a decade, and I can tell you that two people will
respond to *the same* treatment plan differently, depending upon who
gives it to them.

Speaking of an ideal world where an independent organization is
certifying competence on behalf of the marketplace is like looking at
Alice in Wonderland as a business manual. Free software will never get
anywhere with theoretical visions.

In whose interest is the TDF working, developers of software, or
buyers?  Because if you want to commodify open source software, you
provide no incentive for anyone to open their code.  It would be
absolutely foolish for someone to release code to "the community" AND
subject himself to arbitrary "certification."  Code and publically
available work *is* proof of competence -- or should be.

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