Marimba Software "pushes" information over Internet

Boston -- Marimba Inc. today announced Castanet, a Java-based suite of tools that allows Web sites to proactively "push out" information such as news updates and upgrades to software.

The suite includes client and server software and development tools that will allow for the creation of media-rich applications that do not require any specific platform or a traditional HTML framework, Marimba officials said.

The technology can best be understood through the metaphor of radio, in which a server acts as the transmitter, sending applications or software updates over a network to a tuner located in a user's desktop computer.

The tuner can be personalized so that it is "tuned in" to multiple content or application channels, allowing them to feed data to the desktop without the user having to seek out a Web site and initiate the download, officials said.

The company claims this will allow users to receive news updates in "near real time," and for software updates to be automatically downloaded without the user even having to know when it is happening.

A beta verson of Castanet is available for download free at http://www.marimba.com. The final version is expected to be available by the end of 1996, free to non-commercial users, officials said.

The Transmitter-Basic package is 95 and supports 100 users per hour per channel, officials said. Additional support can be bought for 95 per hundred users. A Transmitter-Pro package costs 5,000 and supports unlimited users. A free 90-day trial version supporting five users is available.

The Castanet Repeater is 95 and allows two Transimitters to be connected together.

Marimba has filed for patent on Castanet's Application Distribution Protocol (ADP) for mirroring code and data over a network. Officials say the product requires little bandwidth, and is scalable from hundreds of users to millions.