About Group-S

Group “s” was the systems programmer’s group in the days of PLATO. This site is established to preserve work which otherwise cannot be shared in other ways.

Group-s.net contains additional documentation in preservation of some of the early work involving the “TUTOR Language” – the language of PLATO. This documentation effort is in support of Cyber1.org, a group of people dedicated to the preservation of the world’s first computer-based community, PLATO.  Initial contents will be whatever documentation and information which may be made publicly available.

Although you may read more about it on the Cyber1.org site, here’s a little bit about the conservation effort:

About Cyber1.org

Cyber1.org is made possible by the VCampus Corporation, who graciously donated rights to their CYBIS software system. Cyber1.org thanks VCampus and their CEO Nat Kannan not only for their generosity, but also for having the wisdom to preserve one of the most important pieces of computer history.

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. On our dual opteron Tyan Thunder K8W production machine, DtCyber runs on Suse Linux 9.1 for AMD64. Our backup is a Mac G5 running Mac OS X Panther, an operating system based upon BSD.

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