UNTANGLING THE LINES OF WEB FISHERMEN
CAN JAVA, SUN MICROSYSTEMS Inc.'s language for creating Internet programs, be the key to opening the World Wide Web to the masses? Currently, people seeking information, pictures, or video and audio clips must go out and browse for them--and then, to view the material, they often have to download and install special ``plug-in'' programs. Marimba, a highly secretive Palo Alto (Calif.) company started by four original members of Sun's Java team, hopes to change all that. On Oct. 8, it announced a set of Java-based technologies called Castanet that will make it a snap to receive and update software and multimedia material via the Web.
Castanet extends an idea first espoused by PointCast Inc., which makes a program that sends customized news to personal-computer screens. Castanet ``transmitter'' software--which costs software and content developers $995 to $15,000 depending on the size of their audience--sends the programs and content over the Internet or via corporate intranets. PC owners use Marimba's free ``tuner'' software to receive the material, which then runs automatically, with no installation hassles. Some observers say Marimba's software could change the industry's economics by making program upgrades as automatic as a magazine subscription.
EDITED BY PAUL M. ENG
Updated June 14, 1997 by bwwebmaster
Copyright 1996, Bloomberg L.P.