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Bidders beware the L7NUX number plate
Number plate font laws change on 1 September
If you're interested in buying the L7NUX number plate, currently up for sale on eBay, you should think carefully before making a bid.
The number plate is pictured on the eBay site with a very vertical and slimmed down 7, and all the characters close together, which makes the plate read LINUX. If having the plate like that isn't already illegal - it will be on 1 September when the number plate regulations change. Interestingly, the auction is timed to finish on 31 August, so maybe seller John Leitch, thinks he's had a good run and can sell it for a lot of money before it he has to change it back to L7 NUX.
Leitch told The Reg that he'd not had any trouble from the police for the way he had the letters on his licence plate arranged. However, Gareth Bult, MD of ISP of Frontier Internet Services, and the owner of the L1NUX number plate has a different story. The police have stopped him five times for having the incorrect spacing between letters on his cherished plate.
He called The Register to warn potential buyers of L7NUX of the hassles involved in rejigging the letters on your number plate.
"In London they're very very sensitive about the spacing of letters. I've been taken to court once," he said. Bult had changed the letter spacing on his plate within the seven days of being instructed to, but an admin cock up meant he still had to appear in court
The last time he was stopped the letter spacing was 2mm out.
He now lives in the countryside outside Cardiff where the number plate special squad is more relaxed. Which is not to suggest he doesn't adhere to the DVLA's regulations. He currently drives a BMW 528.
He bought L1NUX in 1993 from a DVLA auction and paid £1,000 for it. His company, Frontier Internet Services, is run exclusively on Linux. The company went live running version 0.96.
Meanwhile the bidding for L7NUX has reached £8,100 and still hasn't hit the reserve price. ®
IT entrepreneur James Wickes, the founder of distributor Ideal Hardware, owns the WWW1 plate. He paid £5,000 for it a few years ago. He really wants to get his hands on URL1, and is quite interested in HTM1.
Here's what the DVLA is saying about number plate fonts.
Why are the rules on fonts changing?
An increasing number of motorists use number plates that are difficult to read. The introduction of cameras for enforcement purposes means that it is more important than ever for number plates to be legible. The new regulations will ensure that there is clarity of numbers and letters through the use of a standardised mandatory font.
Will motorists have to change their existing number plates to the new font?
The vast majority of motorists will not be directly affected by the regulations. However those motorists who have number plates that are not substantially the same as the new mandatory font should change them for plates that comply with new regulations. Once the new font becomes compulsory existing number plates using any typeface that is not substantially the same as that specified in the regulations will be illegal.
Will motorists with "cherished" registration marks be affected by the new mandatory font?
Providing their number plate(s) currently meets the legal requirements the new mandatory font will not affect them.