2009-11-11

Microsoft's Ball-mer-zheimer's Disease

I just combined "Ballzheimer's" Disease (The Daily Show) with Steve Ballmer to make a crude but semi-accurate description of Microsoft's latest patent move (PJ from Groklaw).
To summarize, Microsoft has basically patented "su"/"sudo" (the superuser (root) command in *nix) through creation of a "su"-GUI. In essence, it has tried to patent "su"/"sudo" itself.
To me, this is one of the more extreme examples of Microsoft's protection of its software through patents, but it certainly is typical of its general behavior.
I think the Free Software Foundation and/or GNU project should sue Microsoft for violating a (presumably) GPL'ed piece of code. Microsoft should be able to use it as long as the resulting software is just as free as the original software. That said, given Microsoft's recent history of GPL violations, I don't expect that to be a deterrent.
It's a sad day for the technology community when "su"/"sudo" (a tool created in the 1970s (!)) becomes patented.

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