Early this week, the notMac contest ended with the victory of Ben Spink and the result of a .Mac-alike server software that can provide most of the functionalities of Apple's online service… and which is Open Source. We interviewed him hours before he put the finishing touches on the code.
Ben: I will hopefully get you a lengthy reply later today if that's OK. I'm working desperately to fix up last minute bugs. Sad SO I'm not ignoring you, and I would like to respond, I just need to finish these bugs. My deadline is approaching.
[Some hours later]
peluzza: Is notmac only for local network? will it be possible to use in any ftp hosting?
Ben: The intent is that you can connect to a notMac server. This may be locally in your own network, or a public server someone is hosting on the Internet. It however won't be a drop in script you can upload to your current service
provider's web cgi-bin directory and have things work that way. The solution is more involved then that. There is a common perception that .Mac is just WebDAV. While its true the iDisk is WebDAV, .Mac has special "additions" that aren't handled by normal WebDAV. It also has the whole sync services which uses another type of protocol entirely.
peluzza: are you the only programmer of the app?
Ben: I am. Its taken a fair amount of hours on this. The initial work was done in about a week, followed by about another week of discovering new things I didn't know .Mac service did. At about two and a half weeks I submitted my solution, and have been working out the remaining bugs people have discovered since then. (Doesn't seem long, but some of those days I didn't sleep and worked 40 hours straight.) Right now, I only have a few minor issues left to resolve that I know of.
I had a huge advantage coming into this as I had already written CrushFTP. It has a robust WebDAV implementation in it that I wrote from the ground up. So I had the flexibility to change anything I needed. As part of this contest, I am giving away the source code to the WebDAV implementation in CrushFTP to comply with the rules. So people will be able to make any and all modifications to how things will work.
peluzza: cam we expect a gmail (or else) sync, like Gdisk?
Ben: I do expect people to start offering hosted notMac servers that you can sign up for. This hasn't been something that interested me, but others have approached me about it. So I would anticipate people running public notmac servers that you can point your notMac client at.
peluzza: How many (.mac) features will support the app?
Ben: Almost every .Mac feature is supported. The few exceptions are what is unecessary based on the rules. This includes the online calendar, mail, and photo gallery. Otherwise the rest of the features should be working and available. Homepage, idisk, synching, iWeb, photocasting (iLife 07), .Mac slides, etc. peluzza wrote: 5- How will it grow after the prize? i mean, will you improve it with some freakin' features?
I will contribute to the project after its public, but I don't want to have to be the sole contributor that people are relying on to get things done. Additional features won't be hard to implements. There is a lot of power that can be accomplished with CrushFTP as the core.
peluzza: What will you do with such amount of money?
Ben: To start with, upgrade my home monitor to a 30 inch Dell LCD. That's my reward for the time I have spent on this. I really can use that much screen real estate. Some of the rest will be going to charity , and taxes.
Spanish translation available here.