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

Ladner, Eric (Eric.Ladner) Eric.Ladner at chevrontexaco.com
Mon Aug 23 19:08:36 EDT 2004


Just reading it, I'd say that sudo does EXACTLY as specified in the
abstract.  From what I can tell:

Administrative security process = sudo
Administrative privilege level = root
Information in a data store = sudoers file

There's a bunch of goop in there about network appliances and such, but
sudo pretty much fits the bill up to point number 34.

I bet they'll try to patent typing via a keyboard next.

Eric Ladner, Systems Analyst 
RFMS IT Support

-----Original Message-----
From: sudo-users-bounces at courtesan.com
[mailto:sudo-users-bounces at courtesan.com] On Behalf Of Todd C. Miller
Sent: Monday, August 23, 2004 5:33 PM
To: sudo-users at sudo.ws
Subject: [sudo-users] sudo and US patent 6,775,781

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

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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