Monday, November 21, 2005

Demand for a BSD Associate Certification Guide

I have an idea for a new book. For the last year I have been part of
the BSD Certification Group (BSDCG). I started out as a Group member, but moved to the Advisory Board when TaoSecurity business occupied too much of my time.

Last month the BSDCG published its BSD Associate Exam Objectives (.pdf) The document outlines all the skills a candidate for the BSD Associate cert is expected to have. However, no specifics are given. For example:

3.2.12 Change the encryption algorithm used to encrypt the password database.


Given a screenshot of a password database, the BSDA candidate should be
able to recognize the encryption algorithm in use and how to select
another algorithm. The candidate should also have a basic understanding
of when to use DES, MD5 and Blowfish.

login.conf(5); auth.conf(5); passwd.conf(5); adduser.conf(5) and adduser(8)

I am considering writing a BSD Associate Certification Guide. The guide will cover all of the 7 domains on the cert:

1. Installing and Upgrading the OS and Software
2. Securing the OS
3. Files, Filesystems, and Disks
4. Users and Accounts Management
5. Basic System Administration
6. Network Administration
7. Basic Unix Skills

Half of the work is already done. I know everything that needs to be covered. What I need to do now is provide answers to the questions.

What do you think? Would you like a book that addresses all of the seven domains for all of the BSD OS' covered by the cert (FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, DragonFly BSD)?


Anonymous said...

I am all for it.


Marcos said...

Me too!
It's a great idea! Very good!

Thanks a lot,

Adam said...

Personally as long as you keep cranking out security oriented books that are unique-- I'll keep buying them... Aside from being geared specifically towards passing the BSD Associate exam, how is it going to be different from other books on BSD? It seems all of that information can be found in manuals or other BSD books. It's hard for me to say whether I'm for this book when I don't know any other topics you might be wanting to cover. Any other ideas you're kicking around?

Even with that said, if the book is already half done and you just have to write it out, then you might as well write it and ignore me. :)


John Ward said...

That gets the "yes and no" response from me.

Yes, I think it would be a good topic for a book. You have a specific topic and organization of material already in mind. For someone like me who has no real desire to pour through man pages and huge documentation to study a topic, I think this is a great approach.

On the other hand, I would hate for the BSD certification to be about as useful as a MCSE, with someone going through a cram session to meet the criteria, then not know jack due to lack of practical experience.

Double-edged sword and all that. Although I have no plans to get BSD certified, I think it would make for an interesting read.

Anonymous said...

Don't do it. You would be playing right into the hands of people looking to "get the cert", true knowledge optional. If you do write it, at least promise not to do a "boot camp" :^).

jrk said...

I agree with the double-edged sword and cram session arguments although I think it would be an indispensable reference. I think it could take a lot of people from "knowing enough to get themselves in trouble" to "knowing how to get themselves out of trouble". Also, I don't think that paper MCSEs would be able to pull off being a paper BSDer nearly as easily as being a Microsoftie so maybe that will separate the wheat from the chaff to some extent. With that in mind, I say go for it.

Kadupottan said...

Making it easier for the certification aspirants, eh ! Mr. Bejlitch ? I'm OK unless this thing turns out to be like the MCSE. < Must Consult Someone Experienced >

Will BSDA be < Basically Senseless Dumb Associate > ?

Adam said...

That would be great. I have been useing FreeBSD for about 3 years now and still don't know alot about some of the topics covered in the cert.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic idea. Would this book be sold? I think it would make an excellent base administrative guide to add to the library.

Richard Bejtlich said...

Hello all,

I am not going to argue the merits of the certification here. That has been discussed extensively in the BSDCert mailing list, so I recommend perusing those threads.

The book will be unique because it will address all of the BSD Associate tasks for all four mainstream BSD OS'. (Yes, I plan to cover DragonFly, even though I would prefer not to.)

The book would indeed be sold. I cannot afford to spend months writing a book only to then publish it for free on the Internet, meager though the royalties may be.

Anonymous said...

I would enjoy having it as a BSD Sys-admin reference but I would structure it such that has decreased usefulness as a cram session aide for the BSDA.

Anonymous said...

I say definitely do it. If you don't someone else will. Second thought, someone else probably will anyways.

Ayisha said...
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