The prize fund up for grabs for a developer capable of building an easy-to-use replacement for Apple's .Mac service now stands at $6,000, organisers of the notMac Challenge have confirmed.

The fund is the result of a selection of individual contributions plus a $3,000 match-funding sum piled into the pot by the organisers themselves.

The challenge exists as an incentive for developers to make the tools for creating a .Mac substitute accessible to the vast majority of Mac users who are uncomfortable using Terminal and running Perl scripts.

When the campaign launched in December 2006, the organiser said: "Since Apple started charging for .Mac, I’ve spent $495 on membership. That seems kind of steep since all the .Mac features I use most could be accessed using my own server. Much of the required code already exists but requires a very high degree of technical proficiency to execute."