04/05: Did Microsoft just patent sudo?

I found something interesting while surfing the blogosphere. Mackenzie, on blogspot has written an interesting blog post in which she critically looks at the patent for UAC (which stands for User Access Control - a new feature for Windows Vista which has a surprising resemblance to a security feature in use on many Linux based distributions for years) and how she thinks that in effect, Microsoft just patented sudo.

For those who don't know, sudo is a command used on Linux consoles for using root access privileges to carry out tasks requiring administrative privileges. Users of Ubuntu will be particularly familiar with it.

You can read Makenzie's post on blogspot here. The article has been reproduced below:


Did Microsoft just patent sudo?
by Mackenzie

Holy crap, I think they did. Here's the patent for UAC:

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. - Patent 6775781

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