UNIX | Bill Shannon + Stettner | Metal Stamped Replica License Plates
New Hampshire UNIX The New Hampshire UNIX License Plate is produced as it was originally seen on Bill Shannon’s Datsun 280ZX. Bill was an engineer working on Unix at Digital Equipment Corporation and he registered his car with this vanity plate. Armando Stettner, an engineer with an interest in marketing was later inspired to create thousands of UNIX license plates that look significantly different but did consist of “Live Free or Die” and “UNIX” in the same white and green colors as the New Hampshire plate. These plates became known as the ‘geek license plate’ and are found in programmers’ offices, universities, other countries, and even in the Smithsonian! All of this transpired from Bill Shannon’s New Hampshire vanity license plate.
Bell Labs UNIX The Bell Labs UNIX License Plate is produced as seen on the thousands of giveaway plates that were created as the result of an idea by Armando Stettner to have unique swag to promote Digital Equipment Corporation and Unix. It is reported that the plate was actually a geek joke revolving around licensing. In the 80s, you needed to acquire a license to run Unix. Once that license was obtained, you had to acquire the bits and that sometimes meant even more licensing was needed. Armando Stettner would give the plate away as a joke to customers when they asked him for a Unix license, aside from the thousands given away more generally at conferences.