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Commercial Support Now Available For Sudo

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the looks-good-on-an-invoice-too dept.

Security 30

Mr. Christmas Lights writes "sudo has been free software for over 20 years and 'allows a system administrator to give certain users (or groups of users) the ability to run some (or all) commands as root or another user while logging the commands and arguments.' (Previous /. stories include how you can use it to distribute root access and also how Microsoft patents sudo - ummmm, have they heard of prior art?!?) While it will continue to be freely available, Todd Miller (the sudo maintainer for the last 10+ years) has decided to offer commercial support. For those thousands of Sysadmins out there who have benefited from sudo, here's your chance to thank Todd for a wonderful tool and also help support further development of sudo."

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Huh? (3, Insightful)

Piquan (49943) | more than 9 years ago | (#10187047)

It's not like sudo's a particularly difficult-to-use program. What's the point?

Re:Huh? (3, Funny)

AlXtreme (223728) | more than 9 years ago | (#10187066)

1. Write easy yet useful tool
2. Add commercial support for people too lazy to RTFM
3. Submit to slashdot
4. Profit!

wait a minute...

Re:Huh? (4, Insightful)

soyle (196995) | more than 9 years ago | (#10187105)

> It's not like sudo's a particularly difficult-to-use program. What's the point?

Believe it or not, some companies won't accept third-party software for fear of it violating support contracts from major vendors ("you installed third-party freeware on your system? Right then, that'll be the cause of all the problems you are seing, and we don't support that"). If it's a commercial product you can suddenly have all kinds of contracts and certifications about not breaking existing systems, and in the commercial world that's what matters most.

All that without changing a single line of useful time-proven code.

Re:Huh? (1)

heikkile (111814) | more than 9 years ago | (#10187172)

It is a support contract. By buying one of those, you support the nice guy who wrote the program, and enable him to write more good and useful stuff.

Re:Huh? (2, Insightful)

0x0d0a (568518) | more than 9 years ago | (#10187201)

"It's not like UNIX is particularly difficult to use".

Think about what you're saying. Yeah, if you're interested in learning, it's not a big deal. If you treat your software strictly as a tool...

Re:Huh? (5, Insightful)

shfted! (600189) | more than 9 years ago | (#10187384)

Perhaps not... but lets say you're trying to integrate sudo to an LDAP server or some such thing, but haven't the time to research how? Why not pay the author? Time is money, and it's often cost effective to ask an outside expert.

Re:Huh? (1)

qwijibo (101731) | more than 9 years ago | (#10188312)

In many cases, people can set up a relatively simple sudoers file and have it fit their needs.

Have you ever seen a single sudoers file for a large company which can be distributed to hundreds of hosts with different purposes and give the right people the right access across the entire network?

Having seen one of these, it gave me a newfound appreciation for how powerful of a tool sudo is in the right hands. I had been a system administrator using sudo for over a decade before I saw that. How much you know about any utility is often driven by what you need out of it.

From a manager's standpoint, it would be good to know that it's possible to get help if the resident expert left. It may seem like a relatively minor thing, but from a business standpoint, it makes sense to look for available support. You can replace a good sysadmin with another good sysadmin, but it doesn't mean they both have the same depth of experience in all areas.

I'm always for contributing cash or time .. but (1)

Gopal.V (532678) | more than 9 years ago | (#10187058)

I kinda had a flashback to the "SCO Linux licenses" thing for patents sometime back ..

Since sudo doesn't need any manuals than those that already exist , uses PAM and needs 0% maintanence, I fail to get what the commercial license brings ?. Since sudo is a regular systems tool, the "we only use supported tools" point also doesn't really matter as I already have umbrella vendor support for it.

If it's for patent protection I won't part a dime !!.

Re:I'm always for contributing cash or time .. but (4, Insightful)

phaze3000 (204500) | more than 9 years ago | (#10187094)

Many large companies like to have commerical support for the tools they use. Large companies benefit greatly from using sudo. Large companies buy commerical sudo support. sudo author gets money.
Everybody's happy.

Re:I'm always for contributing cash or time .. but (1)

Psiren (6145) | more than 9 years ago | (#10187648)

Many large companies like to have commerical support for the tools they use.

But it's just a tool, like hundereds of others you may use at the command line. Whats the difference between this and ls, find, grep, awk, df, du, ps... need I go on? Is a commercial company going to pay for support for each command line tool its sysadmin uses? I don't think so somehow...

Re:I'm always for contributing cash or time .. but (1)

bestguruever (666273) | more than 9 years ago | (#10190217)

If you are running a commercial linux then those command line tools provided by the vendor will be supported by them. I've worked for a company where I was able to use awk, but not gawk, because of the support issue

Re:I'm always for contributing cash or time .. but (1)

Psiren (6145) | more than 9 years ago | (#10190364)

Precisely. Making support for a specific tool kind of pointless.

"Windows.RTM" from article (1)

tod_miller (792541) | more than 9 years ago | (#10187227)

I think they mean (r) TM but in thier tersity they missed out an F :-)

Windows.RTFM :-)

I tell ya, if we can expect the 2999 other patents (for this year) to be along this line, I think we can see a new strategy of Microsofts becoming clear.

Worms and trojans and virii, oh my! (-1, Offtopic)

tod_miller (792541) | more than 9 years ago | (#10187257)

"Workstation 318 has a hyperlink or HTML browser 324 that allows a user of the workstation to "browse" hyperlinked documents the hyperlinked documents 322 include active or executable content such as Active Server Pages (ASPs) the information server executes any commands, scripts, or programs contained in the ASP document to set configuration parameters as indicated by the user through interaction with the hyperlinked documents 322. "

And yey it came to pass the 'click here to hack me' age of the Internet. Why do I have a feeling this is going to be another nice roller coaster ride of service pack upon fix pack.

[ ] Click here to always trust content from Microsoft

Re:Worms and trojans and virii, oh my! (1)

count_sporkula (446625) | more than 9 years ago | (#10187475)

BzzzzT! Stupid Mistake!

http://dictionary.reference.com/help/faq/languag e/ v/virus.html


Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10187289)

Yes, just what I've wanted! Users definitely need support for small utilities. I know /bin/true and /bin/false give me daily problems. If I only I had support!

Now announcing commercial support for ls, du, df (2, Funny)

DavidNWelton (142216) | more than 9 years ago | (#10187363)


DedaSys is proud to announce our exclusive commercial support program for the ls, du, and df utilities.

These time-tested tools just got better with the backing of a consulting and training organization that can adapt them to your enterprise disk management needs.

But wait, that's not all, order now and you'll receive documentation for all three at *no extra charge*.

http://dedasys.com/ [dedasys.com]

ACLs (2, Informative)

FullMetalAlchemist (811118) | more than 9 years ago | (#10187426)

In a traditional unix environment sudo is nifty, however, with FreeBSD we have had powerful ACLs for quite some time; enabled by default in 5.x, so no need for patches.
With it you have better control, it's more dynamic and powerful. At first it may look complex, but you will develop understanding of them really fast, and it will be well worth it.
Try it out. [daemonnews.org]

Who is this 'Todd Miller' you speak of? (1, Funny)

tod_miller (792541) | more than 9 years ago | (#10187462)

Todd Miller (the sudo maintainer for the last 10+ years) has decided to offer commercial support.

Have I? I wish I had a paypal account and hope some /. would throw a couple nickles my way accidentally :-)

I think I should take him through the courts for some patent violation or something!

He might be older than me and cite prior art though!

(from back when the web was young, but I'm dating myself...)

From his site, either he is older than me, or he has unusual tastes!

Re:Who is this 'Todd Miller' you speak of? (1)

AJWM (19027) | more than 9 years ago | (#10215092)

but I'm dating myself...

Kinky. Sounds like something from Heinlein's "All You Zombies" or Gerrold's "The Man Who Folded Himself". ;-)

op... (2, Informative)

kosmosik (654958) | more than 9 years ago | (#10187484)

Don't forget there are also alternatives as 'op' -- https://svn.swapoff.org/op -- it is quite different from sudo and may please your needs. :-) Also this M$ patent is pathetic. op site states that this tool was released in 1990... And for me sudo and op are technically (probabl were also 10 years ago) superior to MS RunAs service which plainly sucks...

Re:op... (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 9 years ago | (#10189926)

How are they technically superior to RunAs? Could you elaborate on that?

I'll start with this much: RunAs is certainly a hell of a lot easier to use.

Re:op... (1)

kosmosik (654958) | more than 9 years ago | (#10190680)

Like supplying passwords all the time, no grained access control, no per host control, no session (f.e. opened session last for 2 minutes for command "su") and so on... Reall RunAs sucks. That is particulary (not straight due to RunAs but to Windows poor privilege separation) why most users run Administrator account...

Re:op... (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#10192271)

RunAs isn't a very important tool to Windows.

You see, Windows and other unixes (FreeBSD etc) have ACLs. You can assign permissions on a file to multiple groups and users. If I want "jimbo" to be able to execute "sol.exe", I give jimbo execute permissions, or have him inherit them from a group he's in.

That is what "grained access control" is. Not a cheesy app that lets jimbo become "root" (or anyone else). Jimbo's actions are logged as jimbo.

Linux lacks this, and thus needs sudo.

RunAs is just for those times when you really don't feel like logging out and back in to fix your ACLs, say you have to run setup.exe just once and it's not worth the bother.

Comments from the article poster (4, Informative)

xmas2003 (739875) | more than 9 years ago | (#10188840)

Boy, some /.'ers are a bit ungrateful - maybe I'll send The Incredible Hulk [komar.org] after some of 'ya! ;-)

I submitted this story because Todd is one of the "good guys" out there IMHO. I agree that USING sudo isn't that difficult (especially in simple environments), but writing it is a bit more work and remember that sudo is a privilaged program so it needs to be pretty darn "tight" in terms of security stuff, and if you read through the release notes, there are all sorts of interesting subtle issues that have been addressed, plus the feature set has expanded - for example, LDAP support.

Todd has selflessly maintained/updated/supported sudo for over a decade - anyone on his Email lists know that he responds pretty darn quick. And he's not trying to "pull a RedHat" here - you can continue to use those channels and get the same code base for free. I.e. he's done such a good job that it is fair to ask the question "why buy support" since you get it for free anyway!

First, as correctly pointed out, if you are a big Corporation, they often like the "security" of having a support contract - yea, it's kinda dumb, but anyone who works at a big company knows what I'm talking about.

And second, if you appreciate good software, here's an easy way to toss a few $$$ Todd's way to thank him for all his work. In this day-n-age of spammers/slimebags all trying to make a buck, Todd is a throwback to the "free sharing" of an earlier era of the Internet.

Disclaimer: I have used sudo for over a decade (and also live in the Boulder, Colorado area), but otherwise have no profession/personal relationship with Todd. Like I said, I just think he's a "good guy" who deserved a little bit of recognition.

Yes, there's a point (5, Informative)

millert (10803) | more than 9 years ago | (#10190602)

What's the point? Well, the main point is I need to eat :-) But in all seriousness, various people have enquired about commercial support over the years so this is an attempt to provide that. While the average user with a simple sudoers file won't need support, large installations with complex configs may wish it.

This is also an experiment to see if I can make free software pay the bills. I'm currently without regular employment and I need to find ways to fund my sudo and OpenBSD developement work...

Commercial support... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10206462)

Can anyone offer me a commercial support for "ls" and "cd" also?
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