Linux Training and Laptops Go Hand in Hand at LinuxCertified
San Fransisco-based LinuxCertified offers Linux laptops and training. Students receiving their refurbished laptops loaded with GNU/Linux began asking for more powerful hardware. This led to LinuxCertified offering their own laptop brand. Additionally, LinuxCertified offers a range of GNU/Linux services, either on-site or via the Internet. We introduce you to Rajesh Goyal, Vice-President of Sales and Marketing.
LXer: Could you give us a little historical background? How and when did LinuxCertified get started?
Mr. Goyal: Our group got together in 1999. We officially started business in January 2000. LinuxCertified initially looked into offering a Linux Certification (hence the name). However, we saw emergence of LPI as a credible non-profit, and we put our weight behind their certification. So, we became a Linux and Open-Source training company.
Our other two core businesses, Linux Laptops and Open-Source Services, emerged out of Linux training business. One of the key differentiators we offered, and still offer, to our students was a Linux laptop that they received as part of the courseware during the training program. We started buying refurbished laptops from IBM Global Services, loaded Linux on them, and distributed them during our classes. Students get to take all the work they did in the classroom with them, and continued their Linux training on the laptop. With hundreds of such system in the field, we started getting requests for more and more powerful laptops. After spending countless hours on making various brands of laptops work with Linux, we decided to sell laptops with our own brand (whereby we could control the type of hardware being used).
On similar lines, many of our students have come to see LinuxCertified as a trusted Open-Source partner, and used our services to build their IT infrastructure as well as point applications based on Open Source tools.
LXer: How is the business progressing? Is growth meeting your expectations?
Mr. Goyal: Business has definitely been progressing well. We have benefited from ever growing adoption of Linux, especially in technology development space.
LXer: Who are your core customers? What's your biggest market segment?
Mr. Goyal: Developers and Engineers. Government, Universities and R&D Companies.
LXer: What is the best seller (hardware, software)?
Mr. Goyal: Linux laptops. We sell these world-wide now. We have significant services business as well, with most of the customers in San Francisco Bay Area.
LXer: What are your customers asking for?
Mr. Goyal: Better integration of hardware and applications with Linux. They want the same user experience as a Windows user would have from their laptop, from a ease-of-use standpoint, without sacrificing all the great things about Linux.
LXer: What is currently your best buy, in terms of value?
Mr. Goyal: This is a tough question. Of course, we believe we provide best value in all segments. But we continue to do the best on the high-end. Developers come to us to buy laptops to replace workstations, and demand the best possible power from the system.
LXer: Are laptops outselling desktops?
Mr. Goyal: We don't sell desktops as a mass product. We only build custom desktops for our service customers. Our product focus is on Linux laptops.
LXer: Tell us a little about your Linux certification programs.
Mr. Goyal: We don't provide our own certification. We have partnered with LPI - we are one of the few vendors in the world to have LPI certified material. We are also partnering with IFOSS (http://www.ifoss.org/) - an emerging non-profit which will offer certifications to Open-Source Developers.
LXer: How popular is the on-site training program? Is that a local program, or will Linux Certified travel to Virginia for on-site training?
Mr. Goyal: We travel anywhere in US for on-site training. Actually our on-site training program is doing much better than our publicly scheduled training program.
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