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05.04.07

Linux ‘Violates’ Microsoft’s Sudo Patent (Updated)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents, UNIX at 3:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nothing illustrates the problem with Novell’s deal better than this new blog post.

Did Microsoft just patent sudo?

[...]

What makes this whole thing funny, though, is something I saw a couple days ago. Head over to Builder-AU and listen to Peter Watson from Microsoft. He says,

“User Account Control is a great idea and strategically a direction that sort of all operating systems and all technology should be heading down”

Excuse me? Does he really believe this is all Microsoft’s great new idea?

In the end, this seems like a patent that Microsoft will hold up and say “we have a patent and Linux is violating it!” They won’t ever sue on it though (just leave the threat hanging to scare away potential users), because then they could have the patent revoked. It’s better for them to just wave it around.

Microsoft continues to claim that this sudo-like mechanism is its own innovation. Therefore, as Glyn Moody recently said, we must treat all of Microsoft’s threats as though they are as futile as SCO’s.

Luckily for those who care about sanity, the US courts finally stand behind those who call to abolishing ‘junk patents’. Here are some relevant articles:

Analysis: Less patent shield for code

Clearing the way for wider worldwide distribution of computer software code, and saving Microsoft Corp. millions of dollars in patent damages, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday that it is not illegal to send Windows code abroad for copying and installing in foreign-made computers, even if the code incorporates a part of someone else’s patented invention.

Supreme Court to Patent Appeals Court: Drop Dead

Then the justices cupped their hands astride their mouths and shouted in unison: Fewer patents!

Update: The ruling against obvious patents is already serving as ammunition for defense. That is what the following article shows.

Vonage is hopeful that the Supreme Court’s ruling will help its case. “We are very encouraged by the Supreme Court’s decision and the giant step it represents towards achieving much-needed patent reform in this country,” said Vonage interim CEO Jeffrey Citron.

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