Thanks Brian, the IIOP only helps if I have Java clients, which is not necessarily the case, so that route is unfortunately not an option. I thought about an Apache server, but that just makes deployment that much more of an issue for the non tech end user.
The point is I want to make this as easy as possible for anyone to call from any language without the use of CORBA, SOAP etc. as it makes an essentially simple product more complex from the clients perspective. I think I'm going to just go straight Sockets, (readBytes()) on this one as there doesn't seem to be an easier/more generic way for any client to connect without some 3rd party product.