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Castanet shaking Java-centric focus

Push software firm Marimba announces an addition to the Castanet product line that lets users distribute, update, and manage applications written in both Java as well as non-Java languages.

Castanet: it's not just for Java anymore.

That's the message that Marimba is broadcasting with the announcement of UpdateNow, an addition to the Castanet product line that lets users distribute, update, and manage applications written in both Java and non-Java languages such as C, C++, and Microsoft's Visual Basic.

Businesses use Castanet to "push" applications, documents, and upgrades to users' desktops over the Internet or over corporate intranets. Introduced in February, the product until now has been designed for use only with applications written in Java.

"Marimba has been perceived as a Java-only, Java-specific company," said Zona Research analyst Ron Rappaport. "One of the motivations [behind the announcement] is to nail the thought into industry heads that when you think of Marimba, don't think just Java. That's an important move, to make sure they're perceived as company that can deliver on more than just one technology."

With UpdateNow, Marimba may be solidifying its hold on a market in which it has few direct competitors. While other push vendors like PointCast focus on ad-driven content pages and companies like Novadigm and Tivoli provide push capability within corporate intranets, Marimba concentrates on centrally administering applications over intranets as well as the Net.

UpdateNow includes a server-side extension that lets any Castanet transmitter support UpdateNow clients. On the client side, the user may choose between centralized or user-based control.

Marimba also announced its Castanet Guardian product, security software that restricts a pushed application's read/write operations to its own directory, thereby protecting other applications. The security product features authentication, message encryption, and SSL certificates.

The Castanet transmitter starts at $995, with extensions costing $5,000 plus $10 per user. UpdateNow will be available next week; Guardian will be available in September, with pricing to be announced.