Given the fact that we can give any number of groups rwx via POSIX ACL's is there any special privileges given to the owning group? For example, we can set any number of users with ACL's but only the owning user (and root) can manipulate permissions. Is it just traditionally how elevated permissions were given to a group of people or does the owning group have additional rights?

1 Answer 1


Not all filesystems handle ACLs. ACLs are a more general mechanism (gives more finegrained control) than the Unix traditional user/group/others permissions, but are harder to get right. Select what is best for your case.

  • Right, I understand the function of the ACL. I was more interested in whether being a member of the owning group let you do extra stuff like being the owning user does. It's possible that it's just something that exists for older filesystems and historical reasons, I'm just trying to gain a better understanding of the Unix filesystem security model.
    – Bratchley
    Mar 20, 2013 at 19:30
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    @JoelDavis If the Solaris/Linux ACL model had existed from the start, there would have been no need to have a notion of owning group. The owning group is a restricted form of ACL where you can only supply a single group entry. Mar 20, 2013 at 23:20

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