The LPI, Certification De-Activation, and Disincentivization…

I really wanted to get the LPI-3 certification (note the past tense).  It really looked like fun;  it’s got a whole bunch of hard-core stuff about OpenLDAP and such, which I love and I’m way in to.  Unfortunately, a great disincentive has appeared.  First, some background…

I achieved the LPI Level 1 certification on 2004-01-30.

When I took the LPI-1 tests back in early 2004, they had a promise of perpetual certification.  They were the only certification I had heard of doing that.  Perhaps they later thought better of it, because they eventually removed that standard, and instead set time limits on all new certifications, and imposed an expiry (of 5 years after last certification) on all existing ones.  Of course, I do not begrudge them any of those later actions;  it is arguable that the highly relaxed initial standard was more than a bit short-sighted, and the result of an eager new organization.

I achieved the LPI Level 2 on 2005-04-09.

The LPI-3 didn’t exist back when I got the LPI-2…  back when I had lots of time on my hands.  When the LPI-3 was formulated, I watched it evolve, monitoring the news when I could, trying to hatch a plan when I could go get it.  It was released to the public in 2007.  I had heard the news that they were going to remove the “lifetime” certification, but then time just went by too fast for me to prepare for the LPI-3.  Life happens.  I’m not looking for sympathy, my life is great;  busy, and great…

During that window, it would not have made logical sense (in fact, it seems wasteful) for me to have re-taken one of the tests for an LPI level for which I was already certified in order to re-certify.  I figured there would be plenty of time.  But as the window was closing, I looked much more closely into the requirements, and realized I was un-prepared to take the LPI-3 test.  And due to the limited re-take policy, my limited resources, and the fact that I’m not the type to do things un-prepared, I declined to take the LPI-3 test(s) as the last days of my window passed.

My LPI-1 and LPI-2 certifications have been moved to an “inactive” state on 2010-04-09.

This is because of that aforementioned expiry, and the fact that I have taken not taken any LPI test (to re-certify) since I achieved my LPI-2 certification in 2005.  Again, I can’t blame them a bit.  It’s been a while, and they would like to maintain current, fresh standards.

But here’s the problem:  By rule (and yes, I confirmed with an LPI official), because I didn’t get completely certified as an LPI-3 before the threatened expiry, in order to achieve the the LPI-3 at this point I must re-certify at ALL LEVELS of the LPI.  This means that in order to be permitted to take and pass the tests for the LPI-3, I must re-take and re-pass all the tests necessary to re-acquire the LPI-1 (two passed tests) and the LPI-2 (two more passed tests), just to arrive right back where I was before 2010-04-09.

There is no tiered “grandfather” type clause.  There’s no “refresher”.  There is no “catch-up” or “make-up”.  Apparently, there is no sympathy for the additional effort, just time from the last certification…

As a result, it seems to me that the more time and money you invest in the LPI, the more you stand to lose in the event of expiry.

That’s not just dis-incentivization, it’s a smack-down.

Now I think I’m glad I didn’t get the LPI-3, because since there’s no LPI-4 now, my LPI-3 would be expiring shortly anyway, then I’d just have to do it all over again if they ever did make the LPI-4…



  1. Thorsten

    I received my LPIC-1 and 2 in 2003 (when there was no need to re-certify). They “changed the rules” afterwards (which is okay with me) but I don’t think it is legal that also the older certifications are affected. Anyway, I would probably re-certify by taking the LPIC-2 exams again, but there is no way that I will do the LPIC-1 /and/ LPIC-2 exams.

  2. Joe

    CompTIA certifications were originally ‘forever’ certifications but they have also since changed.
    I received certifications from them under the ‘old rules’ and they do a grandfather type clause so I am still non-expired. The people gaining the certs are now required to re-test to not expire.

    I am looking forward to passing Linux+ as a pre-cursor to LPIC-1.
    Thanks for all the great posts, even the ones I do not fully understand are still a good read!

  3. Neo

    CCIE certifications are valid for 2 years only (!!) , I remind that this is a real hard-core hands on exam which costs around 1700 USD not including travel and preparation costs….

  4. John

    My LPIC-1 certification also expired. I just sent an email to LPI asking if I can take the 201/202 exams and arrive at the LPIC-2 again.

    If they say I’ve to re-certify at LPIC-1 all again, even though passing LPIC-2 would be indication enough that I know my stuff… I’m not sure I’ll pursue the LPIC-2.

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