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Obsolete Information in LPI Study Materials


By Donnie Tevault

As you study for your LPI exams, you may find that what's in your study materials doesn't always match what's on your Linux system. That's because the study materials still contain quite a bit of out-of-date information. To make things worse, as of this writing in July of 2008, the official LPI exam objectives also cover some out-of-date material. So, there's a chance that you could see some of it on your exams.

The good news, is that the LPI folk have just published an updated list of exam objectives, which will take effect on December 1, 2008. They'll also release a new revision of the exams, from which will purge outdated questions.

Just so you'll know, here's a list of outdated items from Topic 101.

scsi_info
Some years ago, this was the utility that you would have used to view information about SCSI devices that are connected to your system. It's now gone, having been replaced by the "lsscsi" and "sg3_utils" utilities. It's still in most LPI study materials that you'll find, and, prior to December 1, you may still see an exam question about it. (This will be gone from the LPI exam after December 1.)

IRQ Charts
Most LPI study materials also still have a list of 16 Interrupt Requests (IRQ's) that you're supposed to memorize for the exam. Guess what? That chart only applies to computers that are built with ISA-bus architecture. Modern PCI and PCIe-bus machines can use more than 16 IRQ's, and can assign these IRQ's dynamically. So, for modern machines, that chart that you're supposed to memorize is rather useless.

hotplug
Even the most recent study materials that I've found claim that hotpluggable devices are controlled by the hotplug utility. Well, yeah, several years ago they were. Nowadays, USB, PC Card, and Firewire hotpluggable devices are controlled by udev. (The post-December 1 exam will reflect this change.)

usbmgr, /etc/usbmgr, and usbmodules
Again, these no longer exist, and have all been replaced by udev. (These will also be gone from the post-December 1 exams.)

/proc/pci
This file, which used to contain information about devices that are connected to the PCI bus, has been replaced by the "/proc/bus/pci/devices" file. (Again, the post-December 1 exam will reflect this change.)

This is a fairly recent change, so it's a bit more understandable that the current study materials don't reflect it.

sndconfig and isapnp
"isapnp" used to be used to configure Plug and Play ISA-bus devices. "sndconfig" used to be used to configure ISA bus sound cards, and it relied on "isapnp" to help it out.

These two utilities aren't in the current LPI exam objectives, but they do show up in at least one LPI study manual that's still in print. They no longer exist in modern Linux distros, and--unless you're into collecting antique '286, '386, and '486 computers--you'll never miss them.

A Study Tip
Things change faster in the Linux world than they do in the Windows world. With Windows, an exam and a set of study materials can go unchanged for years, and still be completely up-to-date. Not so with Linux. As you study for Linux certification exams, be sure to check things out on your own system, rather than blindly accept whatever your study materials tell you.

About the Author:
Donnie is certified LPI Level 2, and is a course developer and instructor for SpiderTools.com and BeginLinux.com.





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