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A brief history of sudo:
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 Usenet newsgroup in December of 1985.
In the Summer of 1986, Garth Snyder released an enhanced version of sudo.
For the next 5 years, sudo was fed and watered by a handful of folks at
CU-Boulder, including Bob Coggeshall, Bob Manchek, and Trent Hein.
In 1991, Dave Hieb and Jeff Nieusma wrote a new version of sudo with an
enhanced sudoers format under contract to a consulting firm called "The Root
Group". This version was later released under the GNU public license.
In 1994, after maintaining sudo informally within CU-Boulder for some time,
Todd Miller made a public release of "CU sudo" (version 1.3) with bug fixes
and support for more operating systems. The "CU" was added to differentiate
it from the "official" version from "The Root Group".
In 1995, a new parser for the sudoers file was contributed by Chris Jepeway.
The new parser was a proper grammar (unlike the old one) and could work with
both sudo and visudo (previously they had slightly different parsers).
In 1996, Todd, who had been maintaining sudo for several years in his spare
time, moved distribution of sudo from a CU-Boulder ftp site to his domain,
In 1999, the "CU" prefix was dropped from the name since there had been no
formal release of sudo from "The Root Group" since 1991 (the original
authors now work elsewhere). As of version 1.6, Sudo no longer contains any
of the original "Root Group" code and is available under an ISC-style
In 2001, the sudo web site, ftp site and mailing lists were moved from to the domain ( was already taken).
In 2003, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company contributed code written by
Aaron Spangler to store the sudoers data in LDAP. These changes were
incorporated into Sudo 1.6.8.
In 2005, Todd rewrote the sudoers parser to better support the features that
had been added in the past ten years. This new parser removes some
limitations of the previous one, removes ordering constraints and adds
support for including multiple sudoers files.
In 2010, Quest Software began sponsoring Sudo development by hiring Todd to
work on Sudo as part of his full-time job.
sudo, in its current form, is maintained by:
Todd Miller <>
Todd continues to enhance sudo and fix bugs.