MCROSFT/Linux License Plate

Over the past four years or so, I've had MCROSFT as my personal license plate. Does that illustrate how much I love working for such an awesome company? Or does it just confirm my über-geek status? Or both? Anyway, living in Slashdot territory (Holland, Michigan), I've always wondered how long it would be before I came out of a store to find a Linux sticker on my license plate. And quite frankly, over time, I had found myself becoming more and more disappointed that someone hadn't taken the initiative to put me in my place. Well, while pulling my wife's car out of the garage this afternoon, I saw the following on the back of my car:

This must have happened last night while my wife and I were watching Garden State. Unfortunately, I hadn't noticed it until today, and in the meantime, the 3x5 card with the "X" on it must have fallen off (pretty impressive for a 20-minute drive on the highway). Regardless, my diminishing faith in Linux advocacy has been completely restored. Touché to the perpetrator(s)!

I've had other interesting reactions to my license plate:

  • A Compuware van passed me one day, the driver rolled down the window, leaned out, and gave me a big thumbs-up and a smile.
  • Another car passed me, the window rolled down, and a hand extended holding a big red Novell manual that the driver proceeded to shake in my general direction before speeding off. My guess is that the manual was his only handy signaling mechanism. It made me smile.
  • Yet another time, I engaged my right turn signal, but before I could cross into the right lane, a Geo Tracker (that was at least two car lengths behind me) quickly sped up, passed me, then slowed down. As I merged into the right lane, I noticed a Tux sticker in the rear window. Cute.
  • Quite often, when I'm at a stop light looking in my rear-view mirror, one of the people in the car behind me smiles, gestures to his or her fellow passenger, then points at the back of my car. It usually takes me a second to realize what they're pointing my brake light out? A nasty dent? Oh yeah...the license plate. 🙂

And last, what are the chances of parking right next to the person in Michigan with the LINUX license plate? Turns out that Eric Maino, who is now a Microsoft MVP, used to be a huge Linux fan, and he was attending one of our West Michigan .NET User Group meetings. Priceless.

Comments (16)

  1. robdelacruz says:

    Microsoft and Linux, together at last! (or at least side by side) There is hope for the world after all.

  2. Tom says:

    He _used_ to be a huge Linux fan? Let me guess — he saw the light and realised that Microsoft and Windows are the One True Way?


  3. RobC says:

    "Boy I sure do love this linux distribution. Yeah its got over 2500 applications! I’m so excited…. <time passes> Wait a minute, these 2500 apps are complete CRAP! <reaches for Windows XP disk>"

  4. Tom says:

    That’s your opinion, which you’re entitled to. Myself, I don’t share that opinion: there are several Linux applications that I use and like.

    In any case, I use what’s I feel is best for the specific task, or – in the case of recreation – what I most desire to use. I use several OSes, including Windows and Linux. I’m glad that I have this freedom.

    What does concern me is the manner in which MS seems to be attempting to scare people away from Linux, and thus weakening it, meaning I might no longer have that choice any more in years to come. An example of such would be MS’s "Get the Facts" campaign.

    The point I was trying to make in my first reply was that Michael’s point that, "He used to be a Linux fan," just sounded to me like yet another dig at Linux from an MS employee. Maybe I got the wrong impression… we’ll see.

    Anyway, that’s my rant for the day.



  5. Tom:

    I’m sorry if you took that comment as a dig…it certainly wasn’t intended as such. I merely mentioned that Eric used to be a Linux fan, if only because it would have been confusing that a current Microsoft MVP had LINUX as a license plate. And, since license plates were the focus of my post, I felt I needed to explain that fact.

    Unfortunately, it is very difficult for a Microsoft employee to mention Linux, if only because more often than not, it is assumed that the conversation has already taken a negative bent. I personally find it frustrating, if only because we’re all fellow geeks! We all love technology. We can all like different technology, and it’s all good. 🙂

  6. Tom says:

    Personally, I’m familiar with two MVPs who both like and often use Linux, so I know that it’s not mutually exclusive. 🙂

    In any case, maybe I jumped to a conclusion here.

    Thanks for the fair reply.

    BTW, both number plates are very cool.


  7. Tom says:

    By the way, a number plate is the British equivalent of a license plate. Hehe.

  8. robdelacruz says:

    One programmer’s opinion: it’s really hard to argue about Windows and Linux because they are geared towards different class of users. I like the best of both worlds so I try to get as much of the unix command-line tools on my windows environment. The Gnome, Bonobo, and Mono efforts on the Linux side are good steps towards improving its usability.

    I guess it’s human nature to get personally attached to certain products and tools. Then the discussion turns religious, and becomes less about technology and more about brand loyalty.

  9. Eric Maino says:


    Great post! As Mike mentioned, I used to be a huge linux fan and it’s not that I turned away from linux or despise it now, it’s just that based on where I was working and what I was doing, the MS road is was a much better choice. I do still currently run a few linux boxes and use various distros a daily basis (for school work primarily).


    BTW: My plate is now MSMVP…

  10. Tom says:

    Wow. I don’t know about over there, but over here license plates like those would cost a LOT. One like "LINUX" might cost more than an actual car.

    This has been a very interesting post.

  11. Ghent says:

    Linux is fast catching up to Windows. It’s so frustrating. I e-mailed Steve Ballmer and he accepted all my ideas, but when it came to CALs for Windows Server, he didn’t take my advice.

    Linux Kernel 2.6 is so good! And Windows’ Archilles’ heel is the GUI on Windows Server. Kernel windowing is supposed to be faster but the GUI seems to have bogged down the server. Oracle 9i RAC on Red Hat is so fantastic. And Windows still doesn’t do dynamic reconfiguration. I e-mailed Brian Valentine and I knew that guy knew absolutely nothing about Linux.

    Sigh… it’s so hard to save Microsoft.

  12. xml says:

    Reminds me of teenagers wearing "designer" T-shirts with company names on them.

    What this really says is "Hey look at me! I’m a sucker for marketing!".

    Do what ever sinks your ship, but I would rather not be a marketing droid.

  13. I’m very proud and fortunate to work for this company, and similar to someone wearing a shirt to support their favorite sports team, I wear shirts, decorate my desk, and adorn my license plate with Microsoft stuff. Call it marketing if you will, but I call it passion.

  14. Hellsbellboy says:

    I have to agree with robdelacruz, start talking bout MS and Linux and it’s like talking about politics and religion.. lol I think it was a interesting story though.. I don’t understand why people are saying Linux is catching up with Windows though, I’ve been a geek for more then a few years and except for some that have linux on a secondary box, everyone I know uses Windows. Perhaps when my grandma starts using Linux as her main OS on her main PC, then I’ll say otherwise.. 8-P

  15. Sebastian says:

    It is fun how google works, i typed for a school assigment ‘different linux licenses’ and this popped up as second. I would like to add that is is entriging to see how people always keep to steer of topics, you dear mike wrote a amusing story and people start discussing linux and microsoft in general.

    don’t usually read blogs but this one was pretty entertaining atleast the piece on the plates.

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