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Programming Software Education IBM Linux Technology

Competition Fosters Next Generation Of Linux Talent 209

gollum123 writes "Yahoo reports that about 3,000 students from 75 countries registered for the 2004 IBM Linux Scholar Challenge before registration closed Oct. 31, the largest turnout in the competition's history. This year's winners will be revealed in January at LinuxWorld in Boston. Each entry consists of a 1,200-word essay that can describe the solution to one of 29 Linux-related challenges IBM poses as part of the competition. Entrants, who must be enrolled full time at an accredited university, aren't limited to these challenges and can suggest and solve their own problems. The IBM-provided challenges include asking entrants to identify deficiencies in Linux and propose solutions, describe how to build a high-availability application that would provide failover capability across multiple IBM servers, and improve boot time on a Linux-based IBM ThinkPad."
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Competition Fosters Next Generation Of Linux Talent

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  • by greenreaper ( 205818 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @12:16AM (#10751670) Homepage Journal
    Guess what - if you're not at an accredited university, you don't count as a scholar! Maybe you learnt stuff in your spare time, but if you are hands-on rather than making a habit of it, it doesn't count. :-)

    (OK, so people at high school get excluded, too, but I suspect if they managed to produce an adequate answer I suspect they'd let it slide, and probably sponsor him/her through univerersity as well)
  • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @12:24AM (#10751734)
    . . .if you're not at an accredited university, you don't count as a scholar!

    scholar n.

    a. A learned person.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 08, 2004 @12:29AM (#10751768)
    Im a full time jr in high school and I know more then most about Linux. I probably could of solved at least the thinkpad problem(im writing this on a T40). I will soon be going into college and I could use some extra help from big blue.
  • Free Labor (Score:3, Interesting)

    by slinky259 ( 827395 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @12:31AM (#10751783)
    Improving boot time on a ThinkPad...

    Does IBM own the essays, though? This was mentioned with Google's CodeJam thing too - Google stated that they pretty much owned whatever code was submitted and used to solve the problems. ~stephen
  • Cheap labor? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by discontinuity ( 792010 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @12:37AM (#10751813)

    Funny thought: isn't this a great way for IBM to get students to do work for free?

    Seriously though, the project list reads very much like a wish list of the things they'd like to have but don't want to spend the money on doing themselves.

    This isn't necessarily a bad thing (espectially if it leads to some students landing jobs with them). Just struck me as humorus in that "everything's a conspiracy / everyone has a hidden agenda" sort of way.

  • by erick99 ( 743982 ) <> on Monday November 08, 2004 @12:37AM (#10751815)
    I don't see how that attitude and position would help the typical young person who wants a rewarding career. I have two boys that will finish their secondary education in the next few years and I could never tell them that some of the brightest people never went to college so don't worry too much about going. My college and graduate degrees have opened doors for me that would have otherwise been closed.
  • Re:Sample Problems (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stoborrobots ( 577882 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @12:50AM (#10751877)
    Another interesting point - IBM actually runs Lotus WordPro internally. (The source file name for that PDF is LinuxChallenge-final 07.21.04.lwp)... While in an of itself that may not seem surprising, as IBM owns Lotus, it is interesting to not that this is a giant organisation which needs interoperability with thousands of other organisations, and they can still run an alternate office-suite...
  • by Frymaster ( 171343 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @01:05AM (#10751960) Homepage Journal
    You learn so much more at college where you're taught and learn from others about alternatives, formal methodology, etc.

    you're both wrong.

    what the i.t. world really needs is an apprenticeship programme.

    an apprenticeship system would create a common, impartial body to set standards of skill and competence and provide a structured yet flexible on the job learning path to get i.t. people from basement geek to enterprise administrator.

    it's not like the industry doesn't already run on this type of system in an informal way already. you get your degree, and then spend a year working as a "night operator" changing tapes. only once you've proven diligent enough to not screw up the back ups do you move on deployment, then troubleshooting, then planning and, finally, administration.

    we should formalize the process so that real experience translates directly to accredation.

  • by onestickybit ( 595521 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @01:29AM (#10752076) Journal
    I was one of the winners in 2001. I actually like the idea. For those who are ranting about how IBM is getting work done for free and so on, i got to intern at the Linux Technology Center and had a blast there, it was worth it(and yea, the thinkpad was useful too).
  • by boudie ( 704942 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @01:34AM (#10752095)
    Put the kernel in the bios. It's quite doable, so why aren't they doing it?
  • Already being done (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pkphilip ( 6861 ) on Monday November 08, 2004 @04:45AM (#10752790)
    I am already doing this in my company - it is at a very early stage of implmentation.

    The primary premise is that software development is similar to artisanship - where an "artisan" joins work in a fairly junior grade and then learns the ropes from seniors and mentors who actively train their juniors on actual projects - all work is closely supervised with the express aim of maturing the skills of the juniors.

    All programmers join as apprentices and have to work their way up by earning the respect of their peers. All code is to be reviewed by seniors/mentors and peers and based on their review, the programmers will advance in grade.

    Everyone needs to know programming as well as an additonal skill - be it housekeeping, administration, finance etc so they can take on other roles if needed. In addition to programming, everyone will be associated with one of the additional roles they choose - for instance, you might be a programmer, but you could also be incharge of housekeeping responsibilities.

    Everyone is given an opportunity to choose the role in which they would like to work - for instance, people showing interest in marketing will be given the option of joining the marketing team as long as the marketing team is convinced that the person fits that role.

    Programmers are taken only based on references from others already in the organization - ofcourse, all this means that the company grows very slowly, but the advantages are that the skill levels are kept very high and people can move to a different division/department at short notice.

    Also, everyone in the organization interacts much more with each other and this helps team dynamics.

    I guess the work ethic and the general work philosophy is a bit like in a kibutz.

    Would like to hear what you guys think of this.

Statistics are no substitute for judgement. -- Henry Clay