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The notMac Challenge - make a free .Mac replacement, earn lots of cash

Mat Lu

This is interesting. It's a challenge to produce a replacement for Apple's .Mac online services inspired by the contest earlier this year to boot Windows on the first Intel Macs (this was before Boot Camp for those of you who weren't around then). Apparently this guy Kent has decided that enough is enough; he wants a functional replica of .Mac and is willing to pay to get it. He's offering to match up to $10,000 in contributions to his site with the prize going to anyone who can:

create a free replacement to dotMac's client-based services that's easy enough for a first-time Mac user to install and so fully and transparently integrated that a long-time dotMac user wouldn't notice the difference.

Now there are several ways to get some of the .Mac services for free, from the geeky (and difficult) way, to the relatively easy way (MySync), to the Google-way. (The full rules to the challenge are here). Nonetheless, if this panned out it would be pretty cool for those of us with access to a WebDAV server (which would be necessary to duplicate the server-side functions). As someone who ditched his email address when Apple replaced the free iTools with the for-pay .mac I applaud this challenge. On the other hand, the $10,000 matching sounds a bit fishy to me. Kent claims that "to make it more interesting and give the prize a running start, [Kent's uncle agreed to] throw $10,000 into the prize pool." The fact that I can't even find Kent's last name on the site also sets my antennae twitching. What do you guys think?

[Via MacDevCenter]

[Edit: HS provides a link to a Macworld article with a bit more info on the guy behind the challenge]

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