PLATOTerm 0.8 Beta
Changes since the 0.5 version of PLATOTERM
- Addition of dial directory functionality
- Hang-up now works correctly (DTR)
- Arrow keys mapped to w a d x
- Restore palette when untopped
- Lots of resource fixes.
- Improved 5x6 font processing (used in ST Low res mode)
What is PLATOTerm?
PLATOTerm is a terminal emulator for your Atari ST to access CYBIS services now
available on the Internet utilizing a WIFI Modem.
For the purposes of this documentation. PLATO and CYBIS are interchangeable
names for the same platform.
What services are currently available to access via PLATOTerm?
As of writing this preliminary documentation (September 2018), there are
two major CYBIS systems running. CYBER1.ORG and IRATA.ONLINE.
WHAT IS PLATO? (aka CYBIS?)
(from the PLATO wikipedia page:)
PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operations), was the first
generalized computer-asisted instruction system. Starting in 1960, it ran
on the University of Illinois ILLIAC I computer. By the late 1970s, it
supported several thousand graphics terminals distributed worldwide, running
on nearly a dozen different networked mainframe computers. Many modern
concepts in multi-user computing were originally developed on PLATO, including
forums, message boards, online testing, e-mail, chat rooms, picture languages,
instant messaging, remote screen sharing, and multi-player games.
What is CYBER1.ORG?
CYBER1.ORG is a CYBIS system initially set up in 2004, as a haven for
ex-PLATO users to experience a classic PLATO author experience.
CYBER1.ORG is home to many thousands of classic PLATO lessons and
notesfiles which have been restored from various sources, and have
been made available in the interests of preserving PLATO.
What is IRATA.ONLINE?
IRATA.ONLINE is a CYBIS system that has been set up for the benefit of
the greater vintage computing community, in the interest to provide
a unique experience that can be accessed on a wide variety of
vintage computers with a bitmapped graphics display. To this end,
IRATA.ONLINE develops PLATOTerm for dozens of platforms, so that they
can access CYBIS systems, as well as provide a community and learning
infrastructure for vintage computing users of all types, in the hopes
that as a cohesive community, something unique can hopefully
What is the connection between IRATA.ONLINE and CYBER1.ORG?
CYBER1.ORG and IRATA.ONLINE are independent of one another. With that said,
the reason IRATA.ONLINE and PLATOTerm exist, are because of the efforts of
CYBER1.ORG to not only preserve a running PLATO system, and provide the
necessary information for interested parties to write terminal software
to access CYBIS systems, but also in their effort to produce a publically
available distribution of CYBIS that others who are interested may also
run their own CYBIS installation. IRATA.ONLINE is a direct result of the
public release of this distribution.
What do I need to run PLATOTerm and connect to CYBIS?
- An Atari ST or compatible machine
This version of PLATOTerm is intended to run on vintage Atari ST or compatible
systems running TOS or MiNT. Modern PC systems can run the PTERM program, which
is available from http://cyber1.org/pterm.asp
- A WIFI modem or equivalent device attached to your RS232 port
PLATOTerm currently uses your default RS-232 port to communicate with devices
like WIFI modems, which emulate traditional analogue modems, while bridging to
Video mode support
The following video modes will be shown in full screen:
- ST Low - 320x200 with 16 colors
- ST Medium - 640x200 with 4 colors
- ST High - 640x400 with 2 colors (mono)
- TT Medium - 640x480 with 16 colors
- Windowed - anything else
PLATOTerm can be started by starting PLATO.PRG
DTR will be raised, upon starting the program.
Selecting Exit from the File menu will exit the program.
Selecting Settings... from the File menu will display a dialog box allowing you
to set baud rate, and enter settings for modem initialization and dialing
strings (not yet hooked up).
Tip: Once you have set the appropriate communications parameters, type
an AT and press enter, to ensure that the modem is working correctly.
When PLATOTerm starts, you will see the following message:
At this point, the terminal has opened a connection to the modem and
your modem should be able to accept commands, provided that your
communication parameters are set correctly.
PLATOTerm starts in TTY mode. In this mode, characters are passed directly
to the modem, and only plain ASCII is received and displayed.
Typically, you will "dial" into the desired CYBIS system.
Using the Dial directory
The dial directory provides a graphical method of dialing into PLATO
systems, by selecting one of four dialing entries, and either pressing
DIAL to connect, CHANGE to alter its entry, or EXIT to leave the
Changing an entry
The change button will bring up a dialog form showing the
currently selected entry. You can change the name
of the entry, as well as the command to send to the MODEM to dial
The dialing command entered will be sent to the modem, as is,
followed by a carriage return.
If you do not wish to use the dial directory, you can enter the command
directly to your modem, the moment that PLATOTERM has started, using
a command, such as:
for CYBER1.ORG, or:
Once PLATOTerm has received a PLATO mode command (ESC STX), the terminal
will change to PLATO mode, and interpret subsequent data as PLATO mode
and command data.
By selecting Hang Up from the Terminal... menu, you will receive a
confirmation alert, asking for confirmation of hanging up.
Pressing yes, will cause DTR to lower, signalling them MODEM to
hang up the connection.
PLATO terminals had a lot of very special keys, which must be mapped to
equivalent keys on a PC keyboard. The following table shows the
PLATO and equivent PC keys:
You can get a list of these keys, at any time by selecting the PLATO keys menu
item in Help.
Pressing the MICRO key, followed by another key, will produce various special
characters for e.g. international glyphs. You can see a list of these by
selecting MICRO Keys... in Help.
Should you need further information, updates, etc. You can check:
- IRATA.ONLINE website: http://www.irata.online/
- IRATA.ONLINE facebook: http://www.facebook.com/irataonline/
Don't forget to check out http://www.cyber1.org/
The author can be reached on IRATA.ONLINE as thomas cherryhomes / atari