UNIX caretakers marking 40th anniversary with photo contest

Where has your UNIX license plate been?

UNIX plate
With this year being the operating system's 40th anniversary, UNIX steward organization The Open Group is conducting a photo contest featuring replicas of the iconic UNIX "Live Free or Die" license plate.

From the press release:

"The photo contest invites all UNIX system fans to submit a photo from around the world of their 'traveling' UNIX license plates. Should you not have a UNIX license plate and would like to purchase one, they are available here. All photos will be evaluated by a panel of judges for creativity, humor, and location for a chance to win a free laptop running a UNIX operating system."

Glad they clarified that last point.

The plates cost $9.95 apiece and make perfect stocking stuffers assuming the stockings being stuffed can accommodate an 11.75-by-6-inch slab of aluminum.

Full contest rules are here.

As for the story behind the license plate, The Open Group's Web site has that covered:

"In 1983 Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) was ramping up their engineering group to create and ship their first UNIX system product.

"One of the stalwarts of the group was Armando P. Stettner. Armando was a UNIX system devotee. He lived and he breathed the UNIX system. When he got his new car, it was natural that he got vanity license plates that said "UNIX" on them. And it only made it better that the state motto of New Hampshire was 'Live Free or Die.' "

That was the easy part. Getting the replicas into eager hands posed somewhat of a challenge, but the popularity of the plates has proven long-lived.

Jon (maddog) Hall
Who has the real deal New Hampshire plate today? That would be Jon (maddog) Hall (right), executive director of Linux International, and his Jeep Cherokee.

You can see examples of photo contest genre on flickr from Colorado, Toronto, Maine and Reading, U.K, among other places.

At a glance, it's clear there's room for more creativity and humor.

Contest entries should be e-mailed to uniximages@unix.net by Jan. 6.

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