Turnitin discriminates Unix

  • George L.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Why would they develop such a website that validates "OS"es ? Is it really that important?
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Post 3+ Months Ago

  • mk27
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Okay, if I have this straight they have simply gone overboard with their product in a bad way, which would be 1) probably much easier to use, and 2) certainly much less invasive, if it were web based. If they have to install stuff on your computer, it is not web based, it is "private" network based.

Unless you are required to, don't use it! Of course, bloated and ridiculous software often finds a market in large institutions/bureaucracies. If you are required to use it, make your complaint about the product clear to your instructor, perhaps ask who is responsible for that decision and send them an email. The more people who complain, the better.

I would not be in the least surprised if part of the "uncovering plagiarism" angle involves installing VERY VERY invasive software on your computer. Perhaps you can use it via your school's library or comp lab?
  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Is this an online application or do you have do download an application and run it from your desktop ?

If you have to download something, it makes sense. It almost never makese fiscal sense to develop for *nix systems for applications open to the general public. There's never enough people using *nix, who would actually use the application, to account for the costs associated with developing the *nix version.

If it's a browser-based application, well, this requirement seems kinda silly. I'm fairly sure Java (not javascript) abstracts system calls to a point that it doesn't matter which OS the object is running on. The only sensible argument for requiring a certain OS would be if you're also requiring MSIE.

I'm sure there's still sites out there that will not run outside of IE on Windows because the sites use Active-X controls. Makes sense, Active-X controls are pretty awesome. When it comes to capabilities webpages can have, IE really is the best browser.
  • Bogey
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Certain PHP behaves differently under different operating systems.
  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

That really has nothing to do with why a visitor would be required to use a certain browser though, bogey. :)
  • George L.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

It is browser-based, Joe and mk27 we're not required to download anything. Browser-based.


You may check it out here: http://www.turnitin.com
  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Looks like a silly blanket set of requirements. I bet if you used Firefox on Linux along with a user-agent switching extension you could spoof the OS and the application would work just fine.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

joebert wrote:
That really has nothing to do with why a visitor would be required to use a certain browser though, bogey. :)

Maybe they want to make sure it works 100% correctly...

I think they are putting in too much "requirements" there to visit and use a website
  • mk27
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Post 3+ Months Ago

George L. wrote:
It is browser-based, Joe and mk27 we're not required to download anything. Browser-based.


Then they are lying. If you have a windows box, try it and see if you can discern a point where they "serendipitously" install something without making that clear, which AFAIK is still not illegal.

They do not have a non-member contact address, or I would ask them about this myself (out of curiosity). Which you definitely should if you are signed up.

joebert wrote:
It almost never makese fiscal sense to develop for *nix systems for applications open to the general public. There's never enough people using *nix, who would actually use the application, to account for the costs associated with developing the *nix version.


Sure. But I would say from watching cboard all the time that a very high percentage of CS students (like 25%+) seem to be using primarily linux. Which this is supposed to be for students, albeit not just CS students.

Basically, IMO that website is very patronizing. The guy may be a prof, but he seems to want to treat everyone like children in his discourse, which is very opaque (nothing is explained, you just get instructions). What kind of prof is that? I bet $millions that this guy is trying to establish a reputation for himself by jumping on a "use software to fight plagarism" bandwagon. There's an international group, mostly from Birmingham U., that actually circulate a list of sites "considered to contribute to cheating on homework", which in the case of coding, that list includes all or most programming forums. These people are proto-fascists with tenure, and they hope to further their careers by networking together and making a mountain where-ever they find a molehill "to stop the cheating!". In other words, the worst kind of parasite on the academic establishment.

Do not give them money or lend them credulity unless you absolutely must, and in that case complain FORMALLY to whoever has made this a requirement. For starters, if it is a requirement and you must use a proprietary OS, your school is now helping to fund MS and Apple. Which will inevitably lead to a conflict of interest if MS or Apple also fund the school via private scholarships, etc.
  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Bogey, what you're suggesting would be like requiring that all customers at Subway must be black in order for Subway sandwich makers to make a sandwich 100% correctly. It just doesn't make sense. :)

--

Quote:
But I would say from watching cboard all the time that a very high percentage of CS students (like 25%+) seem to be using primarily linux.


Hell, I could say from watching the news that 90% of gay people are in favor of gay marriage, but without knowing the percentage of gay people relative to the entire population, that number really doesn't tell me much.
  • mk27
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Post 3+ Months Ago

joebert wrote:
Quote:
But I would say from watching cboard all the time that a very high percentage of CS students (like 25%+) seem to be using primarily linux.


Hell, I could say from watching the news that 90% of gay people are in favor of gay marriage, but without knowing the percentage of gay people relative to the entire population, that number really doesn't tell me much.


Well, a programming forum is catagorically different from the news in the sense that people do not just "show up" on the news, and their motive for being there in any case is not to demonstrate their choice of OS. So you kind of have a point, but it is a little weak.

Also, C/C++ tends to rule out Mac types who may prefer Obj-C, but they are there too. I just note this because it was very startling to me when I noticed. Like on a linux forum, it's normal, but anywhere else they tend to be very few. But the linux vs. MS type debates amongst the regulars* at cboard tend to be pretty evenly matched, which is *shocking* IMO. HOWEVER, I've also noticed that the CS students today (I wasn't one) seem to be required at certain points to do some *nix programming. Which no doubt is where many of them pick up linux, and probably they have a whole culture.

So really, honestly, I think if you polled CS undergrads you would see at least 10% using linux as their primary OS. So if CS undergrads were required to use this site, there could/should be serious issues (except they probably have a windows install too anyway). But like I said, I don't think that guy has much respect for students, whatever his pretensions.

* not that the linux ones are louder (they aren't); I know who's who. In fact, there was a poll about preferred compiler, and GNU gcc beat MS visual studio by a slight margin. Like 50-100 voted, so it was not just some fringe bunch. Which C compiler users are C programmers, and I have not found a busier open C programming forum on the net. I have not found one that even comes close...
  • George L.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

lol, mk27. Yes, he's an associate prof. Btw, the way you said he has no respect for students made me chuckled. Today at gents, I just made little talk about him with a friend that he didn't even wash his hands after urinated. He walked pass us like breeze and we both kinda laughed.

I don't like the way turnitin.com warns us Unix users but they actually allow us to continue using the site to upload documents for plagiarism check, with the warning message keeps popping up each time logging in. we can tick check, to not inform us again.

I don't have the time to make an official complaint about this, as I always do with students affair, cuz it's exam season now. :x

I will keep you updated after more investigation with this 'silly' message and yes mk27 I had come across news about a Law student refusing to submit his paper and getting a 0 for his marks and he took it a single step further by going to court with his college for making them use plagiarism site that is coincidentally Turnitin.com. He claimed that his work doesn't need to be submitted into their database for copyright he claimed to own and it proved him guilty before his paper is even checked. I don't know how this case ended. We could google search about this case I think.
  • spork
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I've heard of TurnItIn, but if any professor at my university tried to pull that crap, they'd be laughed at. From what I've seen, the OS usage here is pretty evenly split between Mac users (mostly art and liberal arts students), UNIX/Linux (mostly SE/CS/IT students), and Windows (everyone else). To discriminate like that would cause a lot of unnecessary complications in any course, since even our "essay-heavy" courses are attended by people of all different majors.

What gets me is that the operating system requirement is pretty needless. As long as the file you're uploading is in a format supported by the system, the particular OS you're running shouldn't even matter. If anything, the browser would be more important, and even that shouldn't matter if the developers at TurnItIn knew what they were doing.

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