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History

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The history of Platon Software Development Group has begun in the fall of 1999 at Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of Commenius University in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. Like for the other years, the faculty has opened the profiled specialization of Informatics, to which 120 applicants were accepted. Among them were two creators of Platon SDG - Ondrej Jombik and Martin Karas.

Even though their knowledge of programming was above standard - both have been programming in either C language or Pascal on MS-Dos platform - that wasn't the case with their knowledge of internet. That is why they begun to undertake their first network activities on internet chats and talkers, to be precise on the Atlantis talker. It was on this talker where they acquired their first internet and network knowledge and experience. Even after years they remain active on this talker, now being administrators and developers.

It did not take long and the first network telnet client for MS-Windows has been created. It was programmed in Borland Delphi 5.0, which was the main course of the first year of their IT studies. After this "success", the duo decided to assemble a mIRC-like client for enhanced communication on the Atlantis talker. It was first named WNAK (Wolcaan & Neptun Atlantis Klient). This name though seemed a little awkward and even as a temporary name was quite unconvenient, so there was a need to think of some better name. At those times Atlantis itself has been moved to its own server (many still remember the famous IP address 195.168.11.66), which was named Platon. And so the new client was named alike. It was in these times, in the year 2000, that Platon Software Development Group was formed.

Although the initial project of Atlantis client never was finished, we can mention an Atlantis Macro Client application and other network utilities programmed in C language under UNIX platform, or in Delphi under MS-Windows. At that time the creators of the group got to know another, today a very important member of Platon SDG - Lubomir Host. His activities mainly consisted of programming in UNIX shell and creating a configuration to ViM editor (now a project known as vimconfig).

As the time ran by and they enriched their knowledge and programmed new network applications, programs or scripts, more and more often had they thought about the need to divide network-communicational part from the logical part of software. Although one can carry out this separation in the source code, it is necessary for each new application to create some kernel that provides the network administration. In adition, some quality applications containing work with the network already exist (telnet, nc). What remained was to think about a way to communicate with them.

The solution was reached soon after. On UNIX-based systems it is no problem to run a new subprocess using existing system calls, and to communicate with it (see IPC - Inter Process Communication). After a while, the above method needed to be generalized, and so began the project called extended pipelining (ep). Using system calls fork(), pipe(), dup2(), execvp() and others, it can run unlimited number of subprocesses and freely connect their standard inputs, outputs, and error outputs with each other. It reminds a classic shell and its function pipe - |, but with the possibility of backward or multiple connection.

All the members of Platon SDG have initially took part on this aplication's development. With the help of newly created special user group "platon" on server kepler.fmph.uniba.sk, the cooperation has been allowed to all of them at the same time without the need for synchronization. The coding under MS-Windows platform was on its decline, because GNU/Linux operation system offered sufficient comfort for creation of new network (as well as other) applications.

The cooperation using user group on linux server was possible, but highly unflexible and a little problematic. That is why the group decided to establish its own server with CVS repository, which would majorly speed up team cooperation on software development. Unfortunately at that time many faculty servers ended their activity because of lasting and unsolvable problems like cracking, porn, warez, etc.

In spite of these complications and thanks to the administrator of kepler.fmph.uniba.sk server (Martin Domany) we accomplished to establish the corresponding CVS server in the fall of 2001. It is used by Platon Software Development Group to these days. This way we would like to thank the administrator for willingness and support of our activities. At the end I would like to add that a highly adjusted project extended pipelining was used by a Platon SDG member Ondrej Jombik for his mandatory yearly project in the second year of his studies with the final grade A.
 

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