OtR: Back to School without the Tuition

One of the most exciting things about the internet, in my view, has always been the open hand philosophy that it promotes. In the spirit of freely sharing knowledge to better equip others to make informed decisions, bloggers and webmasters the world over continually post experiences and knowledge to the web, hoping that it may help someone else in a similar situation to their own. 

Of late, many businesses are beginning to realize the kind of positive effects that this open hand philosophy can have on their bottom line and more and more companies are making real efforts to publish their knowledge and experience for free consumption by anyone who desires it. Not only does this help to establish the company as an expert among both consumers and their peers, but it also helps further the agenda of that particular corporation through passive sales techniques. For instance, if I learn how to fix my car with a tutorial from my local Subaru dealer, I am much more likely to want to give something back to that dealer down the road; I just may buy another car from them or purchase the specialized tool from them that they showed me how to use.

Many companies formed around Free/Open Source Software realize these exact positive effects of open hand operation and are finding innovative ways to obtain and retain loyal customers by giving away the tools and then teaching people how to use them or using the tools for the people when they do not want to and then getting paid for that service. This is capitalism and open hand at their best!

In recent months, I have come across three superb resources founded in the principles of open hand and hope that you find these useful as well:

  • MIT OpenCourseWare
    • “a free and open educational resource (OER) for educators, students, and self-learners around the world. It is true to MIT’s values of excellence, innovation, and leadership.”
    • Over 1,400 college courses are available online for free
  • IBM: Linux Professional Institute Certification Exam Prep
    • “A series of tutorials to help you learn Linux fundamentals and prepare for system administrator certification” in the LPIC-1 and LPIC-2 levels
  • APC Data Center University
    • “Data Center University™ courses are designed to support the ongoing, professional education of specialists who manage data centers worldwide. DCU course content and insights are inspired by the NCPI Science Center, an international consortium of individuals who have run some of the world´s most advanced data centers.”

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