This page is intended to answer Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the CSIS server and other, general questions related to Computer Science and Computer Information Systems here at Saginaw Valley State University.


Question: What is the purpose of this site?

Answer: At this point, it just holds some information that may be helpful to students such as this FAQ. It’s also used from time to time to post articles that may be of interest to CS/CIS students.


Question: What else does this server do?

Answer: It’s used for courses such as CS105, CS116, CS216, CS316, CIS255, CIS355, and several other courses that require resources on a Linux server. It’s used for compiling C++ and Java code, a test bed for hosting student web sites, learning a bit about MySQL databases, and other fun stuff.


Question: I just deleted a file off of the CSIS server. Can you recover it.

Answer: The short answer is no. The long answer is if the administrator were to revert from backup, every other user on the system would lose the last (up to) 24 hours worth of work. That and it is nearly impossible to back up all 8,000+ user’s data individually, so it is the responsibility of the student to back up their own files using a program like WinSCP. Remember – there is no “Recycle Bin” in the linux terminal.


Question: I see you have a lot of software in the CS/CIS labs. Can I use the same software on my personal PC?

Answer: A significant amount of software we put on the CS/CIS lab computers are free, open source software (FOSS). If you see a piece of software that you enjoy using, search for it on the internet to see if it’s free and/or open source. For example, the software used in CS105 – Introduction to Computers and Programming, is available at the following web sites:

Structorizor: http://structorizer.fisch.lu/index.php?include=downloads

Putty: http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/download.html

Google is your friend :)


Question: But what if it’s NOT free or NOT open source?

Answer: You will find that some software, such as software made by Microsoft, is not free or open source on the internet. We do have some solutions in place for that. Keep on reading…


Question: I heard that Office 365 was available for free to SVSU students. Is this true?

Answer: Yes it is! You can login here and download Office 365 using your SVSU login name and password.


Question: I also heard that a lot of other Microsoft software like Visual Studio, Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1, Windows 10, Server 2012, Visio, Project, MSSQL Server, Autoroute 2013, and dozens more are available for free to SVSU students. Is this also true?

Answer: Yes it is! There are over 200 different pieces of software available for free. However, this software is limited to current full-time and part-time declared Computer Science and Computer Information Systems majors. The login portal can be found here. If you are NOT a CS or CIS major, but taking a CS or CIS course, speak to your instructor about being added to DreamSpark.


Question: Wait…FREE Microsoft software? What are you guys, pirates?

Answer: Nope, this is completely legit. Saginaw Valley State University participates in an alliance program with Microsoft to offer students certain products free of charge while attending SVSU.


Question: Are there CS/CIS-related activities here at SVSU?

Answer: Yes. We have organizations such as the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) which is a nationally and internationally recognized association. The SVSU chapter of the ACM is a wonderful organization that frequently hosts events throughout the Fall and Winter semesters. They participate in intercollegiate programming competitions and host a high school programming competition that attracts high school programmers from all over the state of Michigan. They also have weekly meetings where members and instructors present ideas and tutorials in addition to employers presenting what their company does and how one may gain employment through their organization.


Question: Is it expensive to join the ACM?

Answer: Fortunately, as a student, you are given a sizable discount for membership status. Currently, the student membership fee for the local ACM chapter is $10 per year and joining up can be done through their web site.


Question: Who are you and why are you here?

Answer: Fletch F. Fletch and I’m here to help you, entertain you, and educate you :)