I'm still interested to know how they knew you were using linux.
What is interesting is that they require java considering it is basically unsafe to use java at this point. Mozilla disables it by default. Flash is also a total disaster, but I guess we are stuck with it until some better standardized technology comes along to replace it.
Somehow or other, they were able to make that determination. I looked into user agent switchers, but in the interests of getting my homework done, I found. .
Theoretically, a website shouldn't even know what OS you are using. It is more likely to be looking at which browser you are using via the user agent, and sometimes this can be a giveaway as to which OS you are using (e.g. you are probably running Linux if you are running iceweasel). This user agent field is changeable to whatever you want, it is usually there to help web servers send you stuff that is going to work in your browser. Usually websites either give you a version of their website that is customized for your browser or some generic default if they don't recognize the browser you are using. Maybe the McGraw Hill Connect website is just written sloppily and it is rejecting your user agent. Depending on your browser, there is probably a way to change it. There may even be a way to change it for just that one web site.
There is also a possibility that you are using a browser that is blocking popups by default. Some websites assume you are using IE and therefore likely have popups enabled. This is kind of dumb, because I am not even sure IE allows them anymore.
TELL me about it. There was a page in the support section to test a computers suitability. Compatible browser, Java installed, Flash installed, pop-up blocker turned off, COMPATIBLE OS. I hit every mark except Linux got red-flagged. Pissed me off immensely and their support agent was as expected--no help. I found another page on McGraw Hill's Connect web site that asked for log in info, and it sent me right to the courseware. Been completing lessons ever since. Also taking advantage of every soapbox I can find to warn folks that McGraw Hill is unfair to Linux users.
interlard - vt., to intersperse; diversify -- Webster's New World Dictionary Of The American Language