Caucus 4.0 Press Release
Screen Porch rolls out Caucus 4.0, the latest update to the premier Web-based conferencing software.

Woodbridge, VA, March 10, 1998—Screen Porch LLC today announced version 4.0 of Caucus, the world's leading independent Web-based conferencing software. Available immediately, Caucus 4.0 can be downloaded for a free 30-day trial from the Screen Porch site on the Web (

Built on solid conferencing technology proven over a period of ten years, Caucus 4.0 facilitates interactive discussion conferences where people can work together with all kinds of Web-based information: from HTML documents to databases, Java applets, images and audio.

Jerry Michalski, a computer industry analyst and managing editor of Release 1.0, says "Caucus delivers a key benefit—active collaboration— which organizations hope for but often don't get from shared databases like Lotus Notes or news server interfaces like Netscape Collabra—yet Caucus complements Notes and adds substantial value where that platform is already in place."

On the client side, Caucus-hosted meetings and discussions require only a common Web browser. On the server side, Caucus runs on any Windows NT or UNIX host.

As a conferencing platform, Caucus differs in three fundamental ways.

First, it minimizes "topic drift" with a format that keeps discussions to just two levels: conference items and participants' responses within those items. Participants can add plain text or HTML. They can also upload files of any sort, including Web media like audio and images. Users can review and edit their contributions. And they can include live links to Web documents or other Caucus discussions.

Second, it allows an enormous range of customization. An enterprise can easily create a virtual workspace consisting of a number of conferences, and manage the knowledge that grows in that space. Users can build knowledge notebooks using simple Caucus tools. Organizations can furnish workspaces with online book stores and other collections of internally-published documents or external links. The visual design of a Caucus workspace can be customized extensively using browser-based forms or standard HTML development tools. Organizations can also create interactive applications, using the Caucus Markup Language (a superset o f HTML). And when a project is finished, its Caucus workspace can be archived as a knowledge base and re-used as a template.

Third, Caucus integrates easily with a company's existing Web and intranet technologies. It turns static Web documents into dynamic material for collaboration and it works with a company's other Web applications. Caucus comes with a complete set of self-installing templates, so organizations only need to add con tent and users.

"We designed Caucus to be the primary platform for collaboration on the Net," states Charles Roth, Chief Technology Officer of Screen Porch. "Caucus is architecturally simple and compatible with the Web technologies our customers already use. It is open to oncoming Web development, scaleable, programmable, easily integrated with network-based security and authentication—and very easy to maintain."

"Caucus dramatically increases an organization's productivity," adds company President Tom Mandel. "It takes the way people work in the real world—by getting together and discussing an issue—and puts it in the virtual space where more and more real work now takes place. No matter how separated they may be, they can share images, presentations, links and files of all kinds, much as they might in a meeting room. What's more, Caucus helps people keep their meetings in focus and on topic, rather than digressing into distracting threads that unravel all over the place."

"Conferencing will increasingly become a fundamental network service," says Doc Searls, president of The Searls Group and publisher of Reality 2.0. "Screen Porch is better-positioned to make that happen than any other company. Unlike Collabra, Caucus doesn't run on just one kind of browser. Unlike Notes, it doesn't require a colossal commitment by the enterprise to a proprietary collaboration platform. Essentially, it's the best social computing application o f our time. And also the only one with roots that run back more than a decade to collaboration platforms that predate even the likes of Lotus Notes."

Caucus runs on Microsoft Windows NT and a wide variety of UNIX platforms, including Sun Solaris, HP-UX, Digital (OSF/1), Linux and SGI. Small-group license s start at $695.00. Full pricing information is available at the company's Web site (

Screen Porch is a privately held company that was founded in 1996, and is headquartered in Northern Virginia. It also has offices in California and Michigan, and distribution partners in the United States, Canada, and Japan. Commercial users of Screen Porch software include enterprises of every size, from British Telecom and Avery Dennison, to consulting firms like Metasystems Design Group and Community Intelligence Labs. Education customers include dozens of college s, universities and other schools. Government customers include the U.S. Department of Defense, the City of Santa Monica, and many other bodies.

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