Start up SevenMountains Software launched its first product at Internet World in New York this week in the shape of a Java desktop application suite for thin client devices.
The company was set up in Norway in 1997, after being spun off from a Swedish distributor of Netscape products, but relocated to San Mateo in May in search of new business opportunities.
SevenMountains claims, however, that its Taskforce offering goes beyond rivals such as Lotus? eSuite to provide a complete desktop platform, including a cluster-capable server.
"This is the first complete Java desktop that is optimised for thin client computing", said Morten von Krogh, SevenMountains? president and chief executive.
TaskForce is built on top of SilverStream?s Application Server, which runs under Windows NT and Solaris, and provides clustering, load balancing and SSL encryption. It runs in 5MB and is stored in a relational database on a back end server from where it can be downloaded to a client machine.
A management module also enables system administrators to configure TaskForce for individual user access rights.
The product is based on InfoBus, which enables Java Beans to exchange information, so that data can be transferred between Taskforce applications such as e-mail, calendaring, document management and supported Web browsers.
While the version demonstrated at Internet World still did not include a word processor and spreadsheet, the company said these would be available when the offering began shipping.
It is also talking to third party suppliers including IBM?s Lotus unit about including their applications in its software suite.
"The problem [with NCs] was that we had the boxes, but the software just wasn?t there. There was a lot of hype in the beginning about Java technology, but now it?s maturing." said Oddmar Sandvik, SevenMountains chief technology officer.
However, he conceded that there were still a number of issues that had to be addressed with Java because "the performance of Java Virtual Machines (JVMs) is key."
The first generation of NCs and their relatively slow JVMs were not really capable of running applications such as TaskForce, he admitted, although he added that the product did run well on Sun?s latest JavaStations now.
Product pricing will be based on the number of processors, with a single processor version supporting up to 100 concurrent users costing $79,000. This includes a SilverStream server license.
The offering will initially only be available through SilverStream?s dealer channel, but SevenMountains is also negotiating OEM deals with a number of network computer manufacturers, according to Sandvik.
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