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Microsoft Patents sudo

michael posted about 10 years ago | from the you're-just-mad-you-didn't-think-of-it-first dept.

Patents 663

Jimmy O Regan writes "Justin Mason (of SpamAssassin fame) has this blog entry: US Patent 6,775,781, filed by Microsoft, is a patent on the concept of 'a process configured to run under an administrative privilege level' which, based on authorization information 'in a data store', may perform actions at administrative privilege on behalf of a 'user process'."

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Prior Art? (5, Interesting)

aweraw (557447) | about 10 years ago | (#10029673)

So, I guess the prior art will be easy to show... right?

Re:Prior Art? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10029690)

Sure, if you have the USD500,000 to field the court case. Most people cave first.

Re:Prior Art? (5, Funny)

cbr2702 (750255) | about 10 years ago | (#10029693)

How? Everyone knows those Open Sores hippies stole everything anyways.

Re:Prior Art? (0, Flamebait)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | about 10 years ago | (#10029808)

Please, PLEASE do not mod the parent "troll" or "flamebait". It's at the very least, funny (thought REALLY, it's not very funny at all). Remember: the consept expressed in the parent is what a lot of people think.

Re:Prior Art? (3, Insightful)

rubz (719242) | about 10 years ago | (#10029754)

Why would they patent something which has been around for years in the competition's OS? There's no way they can actually patent sudo...not on my watch.

Not really a patent (5, Funny)

commodoresloat (172735) | about 10 years ago | (#10029804)

It's a pseudo-patent.

thanks, I'll be here all week....

No (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10029675)

Wow, Slashdot's editorial staff is really unbiased and fair...

GNAA FP (-1, Troll)

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Re:GNAA FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10029706)

FAILED, fuckers!

How can Microsoft patent the virus? (-1, Flamebait)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | about 10 years ago | (#10029677)

They were inveted decades ago

Re:How can Microsoft patent the virus? (0, Offtopic)

SmegTheLight (521218) | about 10 years ago | (#10029692)

I wonder when they will patent the spell checker...

Oh, yeah (5, Funny)

brilinux (255400) | about 10 years ago | (#10029680)

So SU me!

Probably redundant by now.

Re:Oh, yeah (3, Funny)

so sue mee (660717) | about 10 years ago | (#10029832)

No! So Sue Mee

Re:Oh, yeah (3, Funny)

SoSueMe (263478) | about 10 years ago | (#10029853)

yEs?

as (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10029683)

as

Try to look at the from my point of view... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10029684)

Given that I am now traveling backwards in time, I see it as MS innovating and FOSS hippies copying...

I feel better now, all the stress from seeing injustice and unfairness was ruining my health.

First Post!!!!!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10029686)

Woohoo! Suck on it you fags, I rule, I rule, I RULE!!!!!

Re:First Post!!!!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10029702)

Enjoy sucking on the sweet taste of complete and utter 2 and 1/2 minutes late FAILURE !!11!!!

Why do they even try? (5, Informative)

halo1982 (679554) | about 10 years ago | (#10029687)

A computer such as a network appliance executes an administrative security process configured to run under an administrative privilege level. Having an administrative privilege level, the administrative security process can initiate administrative functions in an operating system function library. A user process executing under a non-administrative privilege level can initiate a particular administrative function that the process would not otherwise be able to initiate by requesting that the administrative security process initiate the function. In response to a request to initiate a particular function from a process with a non-administrative privilege level, the administrative security process determines whether the requesting process is authorized to initiate the particular administrative function based on information accessed in a data store. If the requesting process is authorized, the administrative security process initiates the particular administrative function. In this manner, the administrative security process facilitates access to specific administrative functions for a user process having a privilege level that does not permit the user process to access the administrative functions.

So of course this is completely unenforcable...I wonder if they'll even try. What is the process to go about for getting this patent revoked?

Re:Why do they even try? (4, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | about 10 years ago | (#10029719)

That seems setup makes sense under Windows, but seems utterly useless under any Unix variant. It's almost as if Microsoft is defensively patenting just to make sure nobody else weasels in and trys to cut them off from a concept they want to use.

Sounds like a job for..... (2, Interesting)

the_rajah (749499) | about 10 years ago | (#10029824)

Pubpat [pubpat.org] or the Electronic Frontier Foundation [eff.org]


"Do the Right Thing. It will gratify some people and astound the rest." - Mark Twain

perhaps my evil genius hat isn't working (1)

Ghostx13 (255828) | about 10 years ago | (#10029697)

But why on earth would Microsoft patent this? Sure they've patented plenty of things that have demonstratable prior art, but come on, this is just silly. 20 years of prior art! Whats next? A patent on $ or # as a prompt?

Re:perhaps my evil genius hat isn't working (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | about 10 years ago | (#10029784)

Come now, this is Microsoft. Heaven forbid that you try to control your computer with a keyboard! That is like, so MS-DOS!

HAH (-1, Redundant)

Transcendent (204992) | about 10 years ago | (#10029698)

HAHAHHAAHAA

I'm sorry, but that's just frekin funny. Way to go to microcrap for their originality.

Is it to late to patent the keyboard? Or how about a method of communicating user interaction on one electronic device to a seperate entity, either via wire or wireless connection. A.K.A, a frekin keyboard.

Re:HAH (1)

dstech (807139) | about 10 years ago | (#10029721)

Well, actually, you just described the serial transfer protocol used to get data from the keyboard, not the keyboard itself.

Microsoft will, of course, patent both.

hummm sounds fishy (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10029699)

Sounds like they just patented programing actions that can only be done under an admiastrator log in.
Guess the Patent Office has never heard of Linux or Unix.

Tetalon

Thats funny. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10029700)

I thought crackers would have had the patent for sudo on Microsoft products long ago. You would have thought it would be easy for Microsoft to see that prior art.

"in a data store" (-1, Offtopic)

LostCluster (625375) | about 10 years ago | (#10029703)

That phrase, "in a data store" seems to be the innovation that qualified for the patent. The sudo command lets a process run as root, but requires the root logon to do so.

The Microsoft Way seems to mark the "run as root" privledge on the shortcut to the program without having the lower user have any access to see what the higher-level password actually is.

Re:"in a data store" (5, Informative)

FuzzieNorn (203503) | about 10 years ago | (#10029725)

No, sudo asks for the password of the currently running user, and then if correct, checks a data store - /etc/sudoers - to see if that user is allowed to use sudo, and only then runs the administrative command. The root logon is not involved; it's actually disabled on some of my boxes.

Go to the back of the class (1)

djeca (670911) | about 10 years ago | (#10029726)

sudo can be configured not to require admin password (or whatever auth scheme you like) for certain commands. See the sudo man page.

Re:"in a data store" (0)

jargoone (166102) | about 10 years ago | (#10029731)

That phrase, "in a data store" seems to be the innovation that qualified for the patent. The sudo command lets a process run as root, but requires the root logon to do so.

What the hell are you talking about? The whole point of sudo is that it lets you run with root priviliges without the password.

Someone please mod this overrated.

Re:"in a data store" (1)

nkh (750837) | about 10 years ago | (#10029747)

I only use sudo to run commands as root, but the file /etc/sudoers seems to allow any user to run commands as another user. sudo also has a -u switch to change the user who will execute the command.

Re:"in a data store" (1)

e9th (652576) | about 10 years ago | (#10029752)

I think you are confusing sudo with su.

Re:"in a data store" (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10029757)

Yes, I always su root before using sudo so that I can run things as root.

Totally wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10029763)

Exhibit A:

foo ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: /usr/bin/bar

In exhibit A, user foo can make a shortcut calling sudo /usr/bin/bar, and that program will be run without asking any passwords whatsoever.

Re:Totally wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10029776)

Forgot to mention that that line is stored in /etc/sudoers, which you can easily edit by typing visudo as root. (btw visudo will also check for errors in the /etc/sudoers, which is really nice)

Re:"in a data store" (2, Insightful)

Stormgren (17223) | about 10 years ago | (#10029764)

Technically you could call a directory a "data store". If so, this is no different than setuid/setgid, right along with sudo.

This is rated informative? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10029769)

The post completely misstates the functionality of sudo.

Sudo functions by having an administrator define commands, which must be run as root, and allocating privledge to specific users, or groups of users, to run said commands. This setup, in concert with the passwd file (or applicable shadow) is the datastore. From the user perspective, the user enters, not the root password, but his own password to invoke the higher privelege and run the allowed commands.

The user never knows the root password.

Re:"in a data store" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10029774)

sweet! is Microsoft embracing hackers now? Hell, I'll be breaking into song soon....

[to the tune of "this land is our land"]
This comp was your comp, and now its my comp

I gotta root kit, now you can't do shit

I'll catch ya lata, with all your data

Windows is made for h@x like me!

Re:"in a data store" (5, Informative)

GuyverDH (232921) | about 10 years ago | (#10029797)

sudo - through the use of it's data-store the "sudoers" file, can be configured multiple ways.

#1 - To require the "root" password.
#2 - To require the password of the userid that the user is running as.
#4 - To require the password of the userid the user wishes to switch to.
#5 - To not require any password at all.

When not requiring a password, it can be configured by the userid, or the command that is being run.

All in all, it's very configurable, and definately fits the prior art criteria.

Re:"in a data store" (1)

GuyverDH (232921) | about 10 years ago | (#10029852)

And no, it does not always run programs as "root".

Each command can be configured to be run as a single userid (even non-root), or as any userid.

sudo -u
will run the as on the system, if the sudoers file is defined to allow it.

sudo -u -H -s
will spawn a new shell, set the HOME environment variable the the 's home directory. After the shell prompt appears, a simple "cd" command will take you to the user's home directory.

Coupling carefully crafted sudoers file across multiple systems, with SSH using locked down public-key authentication, can be used to make a very powerfull distributed job control system.

I use it in conjunction with SAN attached tape drives to allow systems to "check-out" tape drives, and inform operators which "drive" to load with which "type" of tape, before starting the backups. After the backup is complete, the tape is ejected, the operator is informed, and the tape drive is returned to the available pool.

All with simple shell scripts, SSH and SUDO.

Mod Down - Wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10029800)

Guys, LostCluster is a known karma whore (read his posting history [slashdot.org] ). Usually he manages to at least to copy his information and change it up a bit but this time he couldn't go to the trouble to get his facts right.

sudo, if he knew anything about it, allows users to run certian commands or even gain a shell (if configured so) without knowing the root password.

Mods - please do not reward total and complete inaccuracy.

Quick! Send in your prior art! (5, Funny)

non-registered (639880) | about 10 years ago | (#10029704)

man sudo >/dev/uspto

Re:Quick! Send in your prior art! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10029732)

A quick check reveals that it's a symbolic link to /dev/null. Hmm...

Re:Quick! Send in your prior art! (5, Funny)

Lehk228 (705449) | about 10 years ago | (#10029759)

rm -rf /dev/uspto

Re:Quick! Send in your prior art! (2, Funny)

hpavc (129350) | about 10 years ago | (#10029837)

perhaps they could ...

upsto.gov# ntpdate -b pool.ntp.org ... and get with the times.

Re:Quick! Send in your prior art! (1)

st1d (218383) | about 10 years ago | (#10029857)

Should be: shred -fuz /dev/uspto

ahem (2, Funny)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | about 10 years ago | (#10029707)

A process configured to run under an administrative privilege level, eh? excuse me a second... ah --- ah---- ahchoooooounixpriorart !

Re:ahem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10029741)

Haha. Not funny.

Setuid? (4, Insightful)

chrispyman (710460) | about 10 years ago | (#10029708)

Wouldn't this patent also cover setuid, as that's a way you can have an app run under superuser privs for a regular user?

Re:Setuid? (3, Informative)

LordWoody (187919) | about 10 years ago | (#10029831)

No, because set uid bit by itself does not validate the parent process/user against any data store like sudo command does (eg: against /etc/sudoers)

Proof of concept? (4, Interesting)

Penguinoflight (517245) | about 10 years ago | (#10029710)

I don't think I've seen a true unprivileged user under an M$ system yet. Everyone is talking about previous art, which is definitly around, but I'd say make M$ prove they actually understand sudo before you start complaining about "I saw it first."

Re:Proof of concept? (4, Interesting)

horatio (127595) | about 10 years ago | (#10029841)

I agree. I also have to agree with an earlier post which mentioned punishing those who patent what they know already has prior art.

Problem is, I have seen this unprivileged user, and its broken. A few years ago we split our NT accounts in the IT office I worked in into 'priv' and 'non-priv' accounts for each of us. Previously, our typical logins had all the admin privs to do whatever we needed on the workstation.

The plan was that we could use the win2k/xp version of 'su' (whatever it is called, I don't remember) to do things that needed elevated privs. IT DIDN'T WORK. Some of the child processes, for example, of burning a CD would spawn as your unprivileged context - meaning you couldn't burn a damn CD. You had to log out, and log back in with your priv account for a simple task like burning a CD.

I think its great how Microsoft steals ideas from other people (*cough*NIX), comes up with a totally frelled implementation that many times doesn't work - and then A) breaks the existing standards, B) goes off and patents the idea as their own or C) both

Perhaps Microsoft's division which is doing all this should simply be retitled "Patent Whores"

Re:Proof of concept? (2, Funny)

chamblah (774997) | about 10 years ago | (#10029847)

M$ [penny-arcade.com]

Re:Proof of concept? (5, Informative)

Bryan_W (649785) | about 10 years ago | (#10029859)

I know you were trying to be funny but seriously, it is a feature of Windows 2000/XP all you have to do is shift + right click any executable and select "Run as..." or use the runas command from the command prompt. Sorry but I had to be fair to Microsoft.

fp (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10029711)

sigh, patents, get a clue.

Su do me! (1)

chris_eineke (634570) | about 10 years ago | (#10029713)

$ sudo mount -t vfat /dev/hdd1 /mnt/win1

Instant patent violation!

Re:Su do me! (4, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 10 years ago | (#10029801)

$ sudo mount -t vfat /dev/hdd1 /mnt/win1
Instant patent violation!


Actually, double patent violation: FAT and sudo.

Now pull down your pants, bend over and prepare to meet my lawyers.

-- Signed: Bill Gates

Re:Su do me! (-1)

Bri3D (584578) | about 10 years ago | (#10029856)

HELLO? When was FAT patented...NEVER. Microsoft didn't even invent fat. Please think before you post.

A brief history of SUDO (5, Informative)

tao_of_biology (666898) | about 10 years ago | (#10029717)

So, the patent is filed for August 10th, 2004... I checked out the history of SUDO page at: http://www.courtesan.com/sudo/history.html [courtesan.com] and it looks like SUDO dates back to 1980.

In reading the patent, it does look pretty obvious that it's doing what SUDO is doing... I think this should be blown up with little effort.

Is there any penalty for filing patents for which you KNOW prior art exists? If not, there definitely should be.

Re:A brief history of SUDO (1)

jdhutchins (559010) | about 10 years ago | (#10029861)

1980... I wonder if MS even existed in 1980...

What Next? (5, Funny)

Kandel (624601) | about 10 years ago | (#10029718)

US Patent 6,775,786 : Filed by Microsoft : The concept of clicking a mouse button to perform a task.
Closely followed by...
US Patent 6,775,787 : Filed by Microsoft : The concept of intercourse to procreate.

Seriously, what is the world coming to. Corporates such as Microsoft should not be allowed to patent bogus things like this.
This is truly Capitalism at it's worst...what power have the US given these people!?

Re:What Next? (5, Informative)

Mark_MF-WN (678030) | about 10 years ago | (#10029733)

This just hastens the end of the patent system. Seriously -- the American patent system is going to fall apart soon, and things like this are the reason.

The underlying premise of patents will no doubt survive, as it makes a lot of sense in some areas (like engineering). But software and business process patents will probably disappear.

Re:What Next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10029744)

We have given them the power to Inovate.

Re:What Next? (1)

torstenvl (769732) | about 10 years ago | (#10029799)

I'm going to patent the concept of registering ideas within a centralized database for the purpose of 'protecting' those ideas by law against use by those without my explicit permission.

Re:What Next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10029817)

Lest we forget... Gates has been buying up the rights to look at famous paintings, for years.

Now, who was saying MS is an innovator in the market?

Remember, investing in MS is risking having your own money used against you in the marketplace. Don't do it.

Ritchie's setuid patent at prior art? (5, Informative)

GGardner (97375) | about 10 years ago | (#10029727)

I can see missing prior work as prior art. But missing the famous setuid patent [uspto.gov] seems just silly.

History of sudo. (5, Informative)

Skulker303 (11304) | about 10 years ago | (#10029728)

http://www.sudo.ws/sudo/history.html

Prior art.

Thats it. (4, Funny)

0racle (667029) | about 10 years ago | (#10029735)

I'm not going to put it off anymore, I have an amazing idea and I'm off to patent it. Its a web based front end for system updates, see, it scans the system to determine what updates are needed, then only presents them to the user in such a way that they can see what updates are critical and which are just general enhancements. I'm going to make a mint.

Re:Thats it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10029805)

Sorry, Dick at Teleshuttle beat you to it.

Code Red is Prior Art as Well (1)

Proudrooster (580120) | about 10 years ago | (#10029738)

Hmmm... just about any worm can escalate priviledges and run as administrator. I wonder if Microsoft has patented buffer overflows as well.

I am glad the European's are harmonizing with our US Patent and Copyright systems. It's time to forget IT and go work on International Patent Law so I can get that house on the bay that I've always wanted.

Re:Code Red is Prior Art as Well (2, Funny)

ehack (115197) | about 10 years ago | (#10029779)

Seeong that the US has military and economic power to boot, we pass the laws that the US requests, and hope to stay alive. And of course the US passes the laws that Microsoft requests :)

the only sudo you need (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10029739)

> sudo rm -Rf windows

More silly M$ian legal-sleeze? (2, Interesting)

GuyverDH (232921) | about 10 years ago | (#10029742)

Hmmm, I'm wondering if they are trying to "patent" the process by which hacks and 'sploits use to elevate their rights so that they can throw "patent" infringement charges at the authors of worms / viruii and other malicious malware type stuff, in addition to the tired old "hacking" charges. Then, with the recent change in the political wind, they can use Federal Agents under the Patriot Act to hunt down and arrest those "terrorists" - or was that from "copyright" infringement? I'm getting those two as confused as the congressmen and federal agencies are!

Microsoft and the brute force patents. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10029743)

Remember that story about microsoft attempting to 'patent double clicking'. I think they have some program that searches google for strings that have 'linux' or 'mac' or 'freedom' in them and attempts to patent the concept.

For example:
"To do * in linux you make a program a SUDO to make the program act as if it was executed by a different user.
Microsofts program (known as thousands of workers typing in searches by hand) finds this and then they automaticly are forced to walk to the nearest patent office and patent the basics of the idea on behalf of microsoft.

Oh for fuck's sake... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10029748)

I'm moving to Pluto. I bet the U.S. Patent Office has no reach there.

Patent on excrement expulsion (1)

spektricide (749293) | about 10 years ago | (#10029750)

Yeah but they don't got my patent that I have for purging excrement from my anal cavity into a sanitary bowl used for disposal into a sewer system.
Why???
Because it's Microsoft and in their offices the sh*t is always real DEEP.

Hmmm, 1980 was a good year... (1)

Assmasher (456699) | about 10 years ago | (#10029765)

...to find prior art. LOL. How ridiculous that the patent office did not dismiss this out of hand. I'm laughing about how Microsoft's patent attorneys are obviously ****ing them over because even the most modest effort in researching this would have resulted in acknowledgement that this is indeed presupposed by SUDO. Hehe... Money well spent Microsoft!

wait (1)

Triumph The Insult C (586706) | about 10 years ago | (#10029768)

<pre>
C:\>sudo r00t_thisB0x.cmd
'sudo' is not recognized as an internal or external command,
operable program or batch file.
Besides, silly! All you need is User access on Windows(tm) to r00t it!
C:\>
</pre>

Guys with a boner for dress socks... (2, Interesting)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | about 10 years ago | (#10029770)

I'm not really worried about patents like these because I feel that the whole patent issue is coming to a head, and that in the end, things will change. Silly patents will not even be contested in court, and many will be tossed out for sheer sillyness.

In other news... (1)

Tokerat (150341) | about 10 years ago | (#10029771)


...Microsoft patents "A method of drawing oxygen into a human body automatically by process of instinctive involuentary contraction of a diaphram in the mid-tosto region for the purpose of combining said oxygen with the bloodstream."

The USPTO found no prior art.

Re: Correction (1)

Tokerat (150341) | about 10 years ago | (#10029794)


*mid-torso

In other other news, Tokerat is found to be partially illiterate. :-(

Really doesn't matter what you think... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10029777)

...now does it. It's a legal issue. If a court of law decides this is valid royalties will be billed. Now say a particular sitting president is re-elected, we can be pretty certain how all those cases will go. Sounds like a national security patent.

not really Prior Art, but (5, Funny)

hndrcks (39873) | about 10 years ago | (#10029778)

" the concept of 'a process configured to run under an administrative privilege level' which, based on authorization information 'in a data store', may perform actions at administrative privilege on behalf of a 'user process'."

Hell, that sounds like Klez! [symantec.com]

Let me suggest a name for this product..... (3, Funny)

Roskolnikov (68772) | about 10 years ago | (#10029781)

msudo

You know something... (5, Interesting)

neiras (723124) | about 10 years ago | (#10029782)

The American patent system is so out of control, it's unbelievable. The companies that abuse the overworked, underqualified patent office to stack up dubious patents for future ammunition against competitors ought to be sanctioned!

I don't have words to express how angry this IP grab makes me - and I'm not even an American! Did the Patent Office do any looking into prior art in this case at ALL?

Whose brilliant idea was it to give corporations the same legal rights as an individual? I wonder if this kind of crap would happen if only individual inventors could apply for patents, whether or not they were funded by a company that paid for their research. Hell, make it illegal for companies to defend patents or fund the defense of their employees' patents - make it up to the inventor to go to court and defend themselves! Jail time if prior art is found!

Research would still get funded, but only for the purpose of improving products, not for expansion of intellectual property portfolios.

IANAL (obviously), I know these are probably stupid suggestions, but damn it, we need some extreme methods to match the extreme opportunism shown by these companies. Anyone else have other pie-in-the-sky, impractical ideas for changing the US patent system? ;)

Should just write to USPTO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10029783)

Someone with obvious proof of history [courtesan.com] should just inform the USPTO. It should be rather straight forward. I don't think the patent would be reassigned, just made invalid.

In all seriousness, someone should do this as it should make this filing a nice waste of at least $10K of Microsoft's money. Maybe they will get a clue and do proper prior art searches(duh, look in Unix).

Sometimes I wonder about the quality of their programmers, I think this is an obvious example that they need to get more experience using 'rival' software. Anyone who has actually used a Unix knows about this stuff, so to think they 'invented' it would be outright dishonest or more likely in this case just ignorance.

This is getting ridiculous (5, Interesting)

Mr. Cancelled (572486) | about 10 years ago | (#10029787)

Companies are getting rich by stealing the future inventions of people with these generic fucking patents. What are the odds that those who invented the patenting process actually envisioned it being twisted around and allowing people to patent ideas, and concepts, the like of which they themselves have no idea how to achieve.

The idea of a patent is, or at least should be, to patent an invention. Not some task or distant goal which you can imagine some day being achieved, but are unable to currently achieve yourself.

Imagine if Ford had been able to patent the automile in generic enough terms so that any motorized land vehicle was covered... Where would we be today Wine makers had patented the fermentation process before beer had existed?

IMHO, patents should be for very specific inventions, and processes, which you have invented, and can accurately demonstrate at the time of patent request, and which of course didn't exist in it's current form prior to your invention

The computer industry, and it's money sucking lawyers have been allowed to chisel away at the wording and verbiage of the patent laws to such an extent that you are now able to patent just about any idea/concept someone may have down the road. Just think about the stifling of innovation if those science fiction writers of the 50's had patented all that they foresaw.

What makes me mad is that no one has yet come forward and shown prior artwork for a patent on lawyer wielding companies who make their money by exploiting the ideas and innovations of others through a series of generic and vaguely worded patents and threats. Perhaps then this whole mess would disapear.

The article (2, Interesting)

Zorilla (791636) | about 10 years ago | (#10029792)

The article's headline may be a little misleading, as it looks like Microsoft isn't directly patenting "sudo", but rather the concept of "a process configured to run under an administrative privilege level." Microsoft patenting "runas" may be a better description.

prior art - ibm mainframe (3, Insightful)

geraint-nz (214071) | about 10 years ago | (#10029796)

i'm sure 20 years ago ibm's dos/vse, vm and mvs used to do this to allow an ordinary user to run one program which required the services of another so could invoke the other program to run with elevated priviledges. the priviledges were associated with the program not the user.

I've got a great patent idea! (1)

SaDan (81097) | about 10 years ago | (#10029809)

I'm going to patent the process of applying for a patent without doing any research for prior-art.

Exploits. (4, Funny)

Daleks (226923) | about 10 years ago | (#10029815)

I think MS has prior art on this one. Their programs have been executing at a higher than normal privilage level for awhile.

I hope they keep it up - both of them... (3, Interesting)

3seas (184403) | about 10 years ago | (#10029818)

Personally I hope the Patent office continues granting MS patents that have such prior art ---- two things will happen -- 1) it makes the patent office look to be a joke and can be used in court against patents in general and 2) makes MS look to be even more a fool seeings how they really should know better then to file such patent applications for such prior art stuff in software...

shoa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10029822)

~~~~~~~SHOA
im fukcin givin props to GNAA

i told u i was hardcore 40th postage

A dangerous precedent... (3, Interesting)

chipwich (131556) | about 10 years ago | (#10029827)

Although it's easy to view this patent as a frivolous innovation that will probably be overturned (eventually) if MS chooses to pursue action against competitors, the danger is in the precedent that is continually being set by the USPTO. By failing to adequately examine the concepts behing these obvious patents (eg, running a process authorized by root, single/double/triple clicking a mouse, etc.), our patent system is perverted into one where the burden falls on new inventors to prove that their innovations do not infringe on patents, rather then a system where the burden falls on patent-holders to prove that their IP has been infringed upon.

This strategy may work in the US, where we can simply put the inventor^h^h^h^h^h criminals in jail (note that the US already has among the highest incarcerated population %-ages), but it probably won't hold up well against the rest of the world, especially the parts that don't think the USPTO is the last word. Unless we can start to incarcerate a larger percentage of the world's population for infringing on US IP, this strategy may not prove to be sustainable.

Perhaps corporate sponsorship of prisons facilities would help make this strategy a winner...

SCO (1)

suwain_2 (260792) | about 10 years ago | (#10029840)

So is SCO going to sue Microsoft for infringing on their claim to sudo?

Well I say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10029850)

fuck 'em America. FUCK 'EM!

My Theory (4, Interesting)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 10 years ago | (#10029851)

My theory is that Microsoft is patenting all these things so they can use it as part of a marketing campaign to PHBs when Longhorn comes out. Something to the effect of, "Why take the risk of running Linux when we own the patents on everything they use?" I know a few people it would convince pretty easily... Tis all FUD.

....Pathetic (1)

MagiGraphX (767644) | about 10 years ago | (#10029854)

This is pathetic. They're trying as hard as they can to patent everything damn-near possible with software so they can destroy Linux. This kind of bullshit is what makes the patent system useless. Damn, I hope karma is real, because Microsoft, prepare to bend over, and take it hard from the GNAA.

Patent Sex (4, Funny)

suwain_2 (260792) | about 10 years ago | (#10029862)

A friend and I resolved a while back that we should file a patent for A protocol for expansion of the human race, and essentially describe the process of sexual intercourse in extremely vague terms.

After taking over all the porn sites in the world, we could start suing parents across the nation.

In fact, you should really just give me $699 today if you plan on having sex any time soon. The license is good for a whole year! (But only for one partner.)
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