August 23, 2001

License plates spell out OS preference: LINUX

Author: JT Smith

John Leitch of Hertfordshire, U.K., is selling a real live, transferable UK tag that spells out L1NUX (or maybe it's L7NUX, according to The Register) on EBay. The high bid so far is �8,100, with 67 bids that started at �5. His success could be encouraging other hopefuls to jump on the bandwagon.Australian Tom Piotrowski, webmaster at LinuxPlaza, is tossing his LINUX plate into the fray, in an auction with an opening bid of 5,000AUD and a 15,000AUD reserve. Piotrowski's tag actually spells LINUX, with no numbers substituting for letters. "I am a great fan of Linux, and true believer that the OS will do well," says Piotrowski. "I am kind of proud driving my car around Sydney with Linux number plates on it, but if someone is prepared to pay ..."

Piotrowski thinks there may be a possibility of interest from the enemy camp. "Wouldn't be sad if the highest bid comes
eventually from regional office of Microsoft? It must be hurting to
them to see my car passing by, especially that in Australia we have a
limit of six letters or digits on number plates, well too short for
anything else but ailing 'WinNT.'"

Back in the states, a decorative LINUX plate for sale at eBay, complete with a "Live Free or Die" motto and a Compaq logo, has seven bids that have driven the price up from $2 to $23. "My husband found this tag in an ex-co workers pod at Sprint. When the guy resigned he left it behind. My husband brought it home and we have no use for it," says Kansas City resident Stephanie Toppino, the auctioner. "I have never seen anything like this," she says of the interest sparked by the eBay auction.

A search of the California DMV license plate database revealed that there are quite a few LINUX tag configurations that may be popping up on auction sites if this trend catches on. We found these existing LINUX variations already taken: EKLINUX, GOLINUX, HHLINUX, ILINUX, LINUX, LINUXGO, LINUXIT, LINUXOS, LINUXR, LINUXRX, LINUXTR, LINUXX, LINUX1, LINUX2, LINUX21, LINUX4U, LINUX64, LINUX77, LINUX95, LINUX98, MCLINUX, and VALINUX -- not to mention BSD, BSDCODE, BSDUNIX, and a host of *UNIX variations. Plus, WINDOWS, WINDOW5, and OPENSRC.

If you really want your own LINUX tag and you can't seem to get one, trying making your own, online, at Acme License Maker, where you choose your state and year and affix any combination of letters and numbers you like. All you get is a little .jpg and not the real thing -- but it's fun to play with.


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