If you're a CNA, is there any point in upgrading your NetWare qualification? If you'd asked me this question prior to the acquisition of SuSE by Novell last April, I'd be hard-pressed to provide a useful answer, since I couldn't see a future for the company that made sense to me. With the acquisition, things are a little different.

I taught one of the sessions at BrainShare 2004, "Installing SusE Linux for the first-time user". The sessions were booked to overflowing. In straw polls taken in my session and other Linux sessions, first-time attendees accounted for between 25 per cent and 50 per cent of attendees in that session; that's higher than I can remember in a long time.

What I'm trying to say is there is a future.

You now have two paths to choose from. You can certainly go for your CNE. NetWare isn't going away anytime soon. Although some have said NetWare is going away, that isn't the impression I got at BrainShare. With the SuSE acquisition, customers have the choice of implementing NetWare in the traditional manner or on top of Linux.

Another option to consider is Novell's Certified Linux Engineer. This will help you install/support Novell's Open Enterprise Linux server due out later this year or early next year. It will also increase your comfort level on working with SuSE Linux, as well as some of the other Linux distributions you will find in the marketplace.

Having a Microsoft certification isn't a bad thing. Although Microsoft may not be as open to admitting it as Novell is, there can be more than one OS in the computer room. Knowing how to properly implement a given OS is a good thing for you and the customer/company. In that way, you can use a given OS best for a particular use.

Ron Nutter is a Master Certified Novell Engineer and Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer.