What is a PLATO Terminal Emulator and why do I need one?

You will need to download and install a program to get on Cyber1. We call this program Pterm. The original PLATO terminals were of several types, a "dumb" terminal by Magnavox (commonly called a Maggie) which had the orange gas plasma display, a more advanced terminal called the Plato V (also called a PPT), the Information System Terminal (IST) series (IST-I, II, and III) that used a black and white CRT, and the CDC 721 (also called a Viking) that was also a CRT but with a slow green phosphor display. These are not the only terminals that were used to access PLATO, but they are the most common of the original equipment.

Our terminal emulator is based on the model of the Plato V (PPT), and includes emulation of the Intel 8080 micro-processor. We also support a hybrid color terminal which could be considered to be a color Plato V. Color is only available under the ASCII port 8005 when connecting, but it achieves faster perceived output due to buffering design at the mainframe.

Q: I have a real PLATO terminal (Maggie, Plato V, IST-I / II / III), and it powers up. Can I use it to connect to Cyber1?
A: Very possible. Due primarily to the efforts of one of our users - Aaron Woolfson - and drawing on the technical and social resources of the PLATO community, a small number of original PLATO terminals have been restored to working order and can connect to Cyber1 still today. A "classroom" was setup at the Computer History Museum for the "PLATO@50" conference held in 2010 (please see the links at the top of the page for photos). Anyone who has a working PLATO terminal is invited to contact us for information on how to get your terminal connected to Cyber1. This might take some serious effort and time! But it can be done. Also, anyone who has a working terminal they might like to donate to Cyber1 or to another preservation society are encouraged to do so. There are currently efforts by system staff at Cyber1 to restore certain system aspects so that a true "intelligent" terminal, such as an IST-III, can run Micro TUTOR but we need an IST-III.

Q: Are the Pterm binary and executable files safe to download? How can I be sure I am getting the authentic file?
A: Yes, they are safe to download. is 100% SSL secured to be sure that the information delivered over the web connection is safe and eliminates 'man in the middle' eavesdropping or even impersonation of our site. To take this a step further, our mainstream binary files (that is the Windows .EXE, Mac .DMG, Linux .RPM, and Linux .BZ2 files) all have a published SHA1 and PGP signature you can use to verify that they are the files we posted.

Q: My DNS service is broken and I cannot connect to Cyber1. How can I connect w/o DNS?
A: Occasionally we too have seen DNS errors. You can connect by using the static IP address ( of "". You can either pass command line arguments such as "pterm" , or you can use the Preferences page in Pterm to change the connection from "" to the static IP address

Q: What do I do if I run into a problem using Cyber1 or Pterm?
A: If you are signed on and having technical difficulties, use TERM-consult to get assistance or go to notesfile "ptermdev" and write a note. If you are not signed on, please use the Contact page and submit a report. The report will go via email to all members of system staff.

Apple Macintosh OS X

Click to download PTERM-5.0.8.DMG. This is a disk image which contains a standard installer package. Click here to see SHA1 hash and PGP signature.

TIP: After download, double click the disk image, then double click the Install-Pterm package icon. This will install Pterm in the system Applications folder.

Q: What Mac OS versions are supported, and what processor architectures?
A: This version works on Mac OS 10.5 or later, and both Intel and PowerPC processor architectures are supported.

Q: Are there any known issues with Mac OS and Pterm?
A: One potential problem is that Expose uses F9 and F10 (data and stop on PLATO). You can easily remap the keys used in Expose by going into 'System Preferences' and then clicking the Expose icon.

Microsoft Windows

Click to download PTERM-WIN-V5.0.8.EXE. This is a typical Windows installer package, just download/save first, then run. Click here to see SHA1 hash and PGP signature

TIP: Follow the instructions in the installer wiard.

If you cannot connect, check firewall settings. Typical routers will permit outbound connections, but the default settings on some software firewalls do restrict outgoing traffic on unknown ports. So check ports 5004 and 8005 (color mode).

Q: What versions of Windows does Pterm run on?
A: Tested and works with all versions of Windows since and including XP, including Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, and XP (both 32 and 64 bit varieties, we assume latest service pack of each version already installed).

Q: What about Windows 2000?
A: You will need run the previous build, Pterm 4.16. Why? The latest builds of Pterm do not work with Windows 2000 due to certain extensions Microsoft added starting with Windows XP. Our Windows build is compiled with Visual Studio.NET 2008 (C++) and does not generate binaries compatible with Windows 2000.

Unix (including Linux)

You have various options:

Click to download PTERM-5.0.8-1.I386.RPM. This is an rpm of Pterm v5.0.8 for i386 built on Fedora 10. Click here to see SHA1 hash and PGP signature. You can install that with yum which will also take care of any dependencies. It should work on any Linux for 32-bit or 64-bit Intel-style processors, Fedora 10 or later, or other Linux distributions that use the RPM package manager.

Click to download PTERM-LINUX-V5.0.8.TAR.BZ2. This is a b2zipped tarball of v5.0.8 containing the Pterm sources. Click here to see SHA1 hash and PGP signature.

TIP: Untar that, and see README-building.txt for detailed instructions. This approach should work for any Unix that supports wxWidgets and libSDL; FreeBSD, NetBSD, and others are known to do so as well as Linux.
TIP: If these don't work, you can check for an uploaded executable Pterm that fits your system from down below under the Member Contributed Builds section. If you have tried and still fail to run, try again with X running.
TIP: Another possibility is to run the Windows version of Pterm 4.17 using Wine under Ubuntu 12.04 LTS. This is a fallback option for Linux users who may not want to take the time to build an executable native to their flavor of Linux.

Cross-Platform (Java)

This is a beta: Java Pterm v0.5. You will need the java runtime environment if you don't already have it installed.

Member Contributed Builds

If you downloaded the source for Pterm, have successfully compiled and tested the executable, and it is not already listed in the installation section above, by all means please contact us to arrange an upload. Let us know exactly what OS and what hardware platform you built it on, and whether or not you are open to being emailed by a small number of potential users of your executable. No OS/hardware combo is too exotic for us.

Pterm for Sun Sparc, built on Solaris 9 with gcc-3.2.3, donated by Dave Dennis (dmd/cerl)
Pterm v1.12 for IRIX 6.5.26, built on an SGI Octane with gcc 3.3, contributed by Janet Clegg (janet/cbe)
Pterm v1.12 compiled on SuSe Linux 9.1 for x86, ponied up by Kurt Mahan (mahan/cerl)
Pterm v1.16 for Solaris 8, compiled with gcc 3.4.1, apportioned by Art Witczak (art/cerl)
Pterm v1.20 for Solaris 8, compiled with gcc 3.4.1, added by Art Witczak (art/cerl). He also supplied the diffs for Solaris 8.
Pterm v1.16 compiled under FreeBSD-5.3 for x86, given by Greg Becker (gbw/gondolin). He also supplied the diffs needed to compile on FreeBSD-5.3.
Pterm v4.1.11 for Fedora Linux 12 for x86_64, compiled with gcc 4.4.4, contributed by Jim Norris (norris/cerl).
Pterm v4.1.11 for Fedora Linux 12 for x86_32, compiled with gcc 4.4.4, contributed by Jim Norris (norris/cerl).