cyber1.org

What is cyber1.org?

Cyber1.org is a group of people dedicated to the preservation of the world's first computer-based community, PLATO.

PLATO is a computer-based educational system created at the University of Illinois Control Systems Laboratory. The idea was first discussed at the University in 1959, in a long series of meetings led by Chalmers Sherwin. At these meetings it was concluded that computer-based education should not be pursued. However, the director at the time, Daniel Alpert, got together with Donald Bitzer to see if Don could quickly come up with a prototype that could serve as proof-of-concept. This prototype, running on an Illiac-I, became PLATO. The project was subsequently funded in 1960 by government money from the Joint Services Program. The lab grew and became the Computer-based Education Research Laboratory (CERL). PLATO eventually spawned a variety of commercial ventures, starting in 1975 with Control Data Corporation (CDC), a mainframe computer manufacturer founded in 1957.

The complicated histories of the various branches of the PLATO tree are beyond the scope of this website. One of the branches became CYBIS, a product of VCampus; another branch is owned by PLATO Learning, the company that retains the right to the PLATO name; a third became NovaNET, now owned by Pearson Education. Our system, cyber1, is a branch off of the CYBIS tree.


What is cyber1?

Cyber1 is the name for our mainframe-based CYBIS system. To those familiar with PLATO, CYBIS, or early NovaNET, cyber1 will feel like coming home again. Cyber1 runs on top of NOS, the CDC mainframe operating system, generously contributed by BT Consulting & Systems Integration Services (formerly Syntegra). NOS in turn runs on top of DtCyber (watch out, this is a link to a .pdf), a software emulation of a CDC Cyber mainframe, created by Tom Hunter.


What is the purpose of cyber1.org?

The purpose of cyber1.org is to create a community—a living archive—on our system, cyber1. The goals of this community are:

  • to preserve a sense of the community that permeated PLATO, CYBIS, and NovaNET,
  • to capture information about the development of this amazing piece of software history before the people who created it are gone,
  • to heal and bring together a community that over the years has become fractured,
  • to have fun.

Some ways for a typical user to accomplish the above goals are the following:

Become proficient with and use the system communication tools: notes, pnotes, notesfiles, and term-talking. Browse through the notesfiles on a regular basis, and get involved in discussions. If there are 30 of us, and every user writes a note or two per day, pretty soon we'll have quite a cool little community.

If you are an old PLATO/CYBIS/NovaNET programmer or courseware developer, you hold a special place on cyber1. Please contribute to chronicle. Chronicle is a notesfile where each base note corresponds to a lesson. If you were the author of, or associated with, a certain file or group of files, e.g. 0mcalc11, notes, or empire, start a note that records any information, stories, problems, etc. that were associated with the development of that little piece of history. Don't worry if it is boring. Entertainment is not the primary purpose of this notesfile. History is full of records that were thought boring or mundane by those doing the recording.

Because the goal is to create the community on the system itself, this website, www.cyber1.org, will remain small and simple.


Credits

PLATO: Donald Bitzer

CYBIS System: VCampus

Desktop CYBER: Tom Hunter

NOS 2.8.7: BT

Legal: McQuaid Bedford & Van Zandt LLP


Main Attractions (in alphabetical order)

Avatar: Bruce Maggs, Andrew Shapira, David Sides; later work by Tom Kirchman, Greg Janusz, Mark Eastom, Kevin Maxson, Chris Alix, John Hegarty, Felix Ortony

Camelot: Josh Tabin

dnd: Gary Whisenhunt, Ray Wood, Dirk Pellett, Flint Pellett

Empire: Chuck Miller, Gary Fritz, John Daleske, Silas Warner, Jim Battin

Moria: Kevet Duncombe, Jim Battin

Oubliette: Jim Schwaiger, John Gaby, Bancherd DeLong, Jerry Bucksath (view monster list)

Sorcery: Don Gillies, later work by Kurt Mahan and Andy Weise (created by Jim Mayeda)


Friends

Friends at VCampus: Nat Kannan, Christopher Nelson, Deborah Colella, Pam Hess

Friends at Syntegra: Thomas Kennedy, Jim Kubiak, Joann Swoboda

Friends at Telswitch: Aaron Woolfson (authentic terminal restoration and PLATO keyboard enthusiast)

Website Design: Wil Voss


System Staff (GROUP 's')

Consultants: Steve Peltz (steve at cyber1.org)

Operations: Mike Cochran, Bill Galcher, Paul Koning, Steve Peltz, Paul Resch, Joe Stanton, Steve Williams, Steve Zoppi

Programming lead: Paul Koning (paul at cyber1.org)

Network: Mike Cochran (mike at cyber1.org)

Webmaster/Registrations: Joe Stanton (joe at cyber1.org)


Contact us

Comments or questions? Feel free to contact us.