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
Does that sound like sudo to you? Does to me. If you look at sudo's manpage, you'll find a link to this site: The History of Sudo. What can this site tell us? Plenty. For instance,
Sudo was first conceived and implemented by Bob Coggeshall and Cliff Spencer around 1980 at the Department of Computer Science at SUNY/Buffalo. It ran on a VAX-11/750 running 4.1BSD. An updated version, credited to Phil Betchel, Cliff Spencer, Gretchen Phillips, John LoVerso and Don Gworek, was posted to the net.sources newsgroup in December of 1985.1985, huh? And when did this Microsoft patent happen? It was filed in 2000. Well gee, that doesn't make sense. How'd they get the patent? It certainly falls under the category of "obvious" if there's prior art such as 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 downExcuse 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.Subscribe to my RSS Feed to get all the updates on Ubuntu Linux Tips & Tricks.