[sudo-users] sudo and US patent 6,775,781

Todd C. Miller Todd.Miller at courtesan.com
Mon Aug 23 18:33:24 EDT 2004

As some of you may already be aware, MicroSoft was issued US patent
6,775,781 on August 10th, 2004.  Some people have interpreted the
patent in such a way that it could cover sudo, but there are also
those who disagree on its applicability.

The text of the patent itself may be found here:

I've tried reading it myself and the only conclusion I can draw is
that whether or not it could apply to sudo depends on how broad an
interpretation one makes.  Specifically, it seems to depend on
whether "executing an administrative security process under the
administrative privilege level" could be interpreted as running a
setuid program.

I'm no patent lawyer and I don't have access to one.  If anyone
here does and could have their legal people give this a once over
and let me know whether they think sudo could be considered to be
prior art for this patent I would really appreciate it.  In the
event that sudo *is* prior art, I will try and file a Request for
Reexamination of the patent.

I'm not worried about being sued for violation of the patent since
sudo has a history going back over 20 years.  My concern is whether
or not sudo constitutes prior art.

Thanks for any help you can provide.

 - todd

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