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Re: Sacrifices made for Free Software

From: Federico Leva (Nemo)
Subject: Re: Sacrifices made for Free Software
Date: Wed, 29 Jul 2020 10:31:12 +0300
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:68.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/68.5.0

LM, 28/07/20 13:06:
> Is there a Free Software
> solution that does the job?  If not, how do we expect schools to give
> Free options or replace what they're using? 

The typical way would be that some large universities identify some
common issues they have with the proprietary software, set some
priorities and pool their resources to pay someone to develop a free
software alternative, ideally integrated in whatever free software they
already use (Moodle?).

The issue with plagiarism checkers is that they built a monopoly by
getting exclusive access to student-made materials. You cannot really
expect Turnitin (or even Google) to license you their dataset in order
to build a competitor. Sure, you can hope for some antitrust action to
force them, but even if you're successful it's going to take 10-20
years, so if you start from scratch you need a significant critical mass
either way.

On the other hand, a university building its own software knows what
sources they really care about checking, and may not need such a giant
index. Specific pieces may be outsourced without insurmountable
difficulties, for instance there are many web crawling services and a
few good indexers of academic content (Microsoft Academic is actually
behaving quite well so far! forgive me for the satanic reference).


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