Microsoft Patents Sudo?!!

Lordy, lordy, lordy. They have no shame. It appears that Microsoft has just patented sudo, a personalized version of it.

Here it is, patent number7617530. Thanks, USPTO, for giving Microsoft, which is already a monopoly, a monopoly on something that’s been in use since 1980 and wasn’t invented by Microsoft. Here’s Wikipedia’s description of sudo, which you can meaningfully compare to Microsoft’s description of its “invention”.

This is why what the US Supreme Court does about software patents means so much. Hopefully they will address the topic in their decision on Bilski. Sudo is an integral part of the functioning of GNU/Linux systems, and you use it in Mac OSX also. Maybe the Supreme Court doesn’t know that, and maybe the USPTO didn’t realize it. But do you believe Microsoft knows it?

Perhaps Microsoft would like everyone in the world to pay them a toll at least, even if they don’t want to use Microsoft’s software? Like SCO, but with more muscle behind the request? Or maybe it might be used as a barrier to competition? What do you personally believe Microsoft wants patents on things like sudo for? To make sure innovative new companies can compete on an even playing field with Microsoft?

And how do you like the final wording of the patent?:

Although the invention has been described in language specific to structural features and/or methodological steps, it is to be understood that the invention defined in the appended claims is not necessarily limited to the specific features or steps described. Rather, the specific features and steps are disclosed as preferred forms of implementing the claimed invention.

Please don’t ever again write to me that software patents are good for us because they include full disclosure, so others can build on the “invention”.

And to the USPTO, whose representative just argued in oral argument in Bilski that software should be patentable and that software can make a regular computer a special use computer, and all that drivel, please put those thoughts together with this patent, and consider the market implications of giving anyone that kind of monopoly, and especially the implications of giving it to a monopoly named Microsoft. It’s like giving a serial killer his very own machine gun, stronger than any gun his intended victims are allowed to purchase. You have to ask, what were you thinking? Read the full article at Groklaw.

Related Posts

Cloud Computing: New Way to Patch Holes in the ‘Cloud’ Researchers from North Carolina State University and IBM have invented a way to update computer systems packaged in virtual machines in a computer "cl...
Introducing the Open Web Foundation Agreement The Open Web Foundation was founded to help developer communities collaborate and share technical innovation on the web, bringing to the world of form...
iPPea TV: Android 4.0 dongle for HDMI-enabled DTVs It seems that every time an Android-based dongle (mini-computer) is released or announced, the price drops lower. And that is a good thing. Very good ...
RAPIRO: The Raspberry Pi-powered robotics kit RAPIRO is a robot and a robotic kit designed by Shota Ishiwatari, the founder of It is designed to work with a Raspberry Pi, a credit ca...
Using LXD with a file-based ZFS pool on Ubuntu Wily Ubuntu 15.10 (Wily) comes natively with some technology previously only available in PPAs. LXD is a container hypervisor that enables and facilitates ...
Run your own mail server using Mail-in-a-Box In todays technology landscape, you can run your own mail server or use a third party mail service provider. For many, the latter is the best option, ...

We Recommend These Vendors

Launch an SSD VPS in Europe, USA, Asia & Australia on Vultr's KVM-based Cloud platform starting at $5:00/month (15 GB SSD, 768 MB of RAM).

Deploy an SSD Cloud server in 55 seconds on DigitalOcean. Built for developers and starting at $5:00/month (20 GB SSD, 512 MB of RAM).

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *