I have a folder on a Linux machine that I would like to be read only for members of one group, read write for members of another group, and read write for the owner. Others would not be able to access this folder at all.

Is there a way to do this without using ACLs?

  • I'd to stop my car. Is there a way to do this without using the brakes?
    – Caleb
    Jun 7, 2011 at 9:55
  • @Caleb Actually, there is, slamming it into a solid wall :-) Jun 7, 2011 at 10:22
  • @Let_Me_Be: I could think of lots of others. Parachutes, hills, downshifting, etc. The point is the right, simple, obvious, way to do it is with the normal tool built for the job. Only when there is a good reason the obvious won't work do you move on to alternate solutions. The asker here has given no good reason not to use the brakes, so suggesting running the car into a bog isn't going to be my first suggestion :)
    – Caleb
    Jun 7, 2011 at 10:24
  • @Caleb sorry if this was a stupid question from your point of view - I'm a Java programmer by trade and have suddenly found myself needing to do a bit of Linux admin. Hence the reason I asked the question.
    – Rich
    Jun 7, 2011 at 11:27
  • No I'm not saying it's a stupid question. It's something I've asked myself after years of unix admin work. The puzzling part is that you already seemed to know the right answer but wanted us to say something different. If you had a reason for wanting a different solution maybe could ask, "Are there alternative ACL systems that provide feature X without drawback/hastle Y." or something that sets us on the track of your real issue ... otherwise we're just going to give the obvious answer.
    – Caleb
    Jun 7, 2011 at 11:31

1 Answer 1


The simple answer is "no" ... that's exactly what ACL's are for, controlling access to resources :-)

The normal unix model only includes one set of permissions for the group owner, not two. You could perhaps hack this by making them read only to world and read write for the group and owner, but that has the obvious drawback of been world readable. If you need more fine grained control use ACLs. That's what they were designed to do.

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