The PLATO Diaspora
Control Data ran into serious trouble in the late 1980's, and
sold or closed many of its businesses. At the same time,
microcomputers were becoming a more cost-effective platform for
education than PLATO with its mainframe-based architecture, and
many of the Control Data systems were shut down.
Today the PLATO name is owned by Minneapolis-based TRO, Inc., but TRO
no longer runs any mainframe PLATO systems. Control Data's PLATO has
been renamed CYBIS. Control Data Systems supports about a dozen CYBIS
systems at university and government sites. There might still be some
former Control Data customers running PLATO on their own.
IMSATT Corporation, a Control Data spin-off based in Falls Church,
Virginia, has recently begun offering a CYBIS-based service called
Homer. It is targeted at home users and is available over the
At the University of Illinois, where it all began, PLATO has been
renamed NovaNET. The U of I system racks up about 1.5 million
hours of use per year, and is now operated by a private company,
University Communications, Inc., of Tucson, Arizona.
The CYBIS systems still use the original PLATO Notes software.
On NovaNET, a team headed by Dale Sinder rewrote Notes in 1991.
Among the new features are multi-page notes and better search
capabilities. But all of the key features of PLATO Notes,
including the star structure of its notesfiles, have been kept.
Personal Notes has also been replaced on NovaNET. The new
version uses a star structure to provide a level of organization
that was never possible before. Each user's mailbox now looks
and works much like a group notesfile, with the user as its
director and write-only access for everyone else. The new
Personal Notes also sends and receives Internet e-mail..
Copyright © 1994 by David R. Woolley
Copyright (c) 1996 - 2006 Elizabeth Mattijsen
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