As I was reading answers to this question asking how to change usernames, a suggestion to change of the name of the group was also made in this answer. What is the significance of the groups whose only member is the user with the same name?


This is a "user private group scheme" issue.

In order to allow more flexibility, most Linux systems follow the so-called user private group scheme, that assigns each user primarily to his or her own group. This group is a group that only contains this particular user, hence the name "private group". Usually this group has the same name as the user login name, which can be a bit confusing.


What does this have to do with UPG?

UPG sets the default umask to 0002 so that group users can write to files. This would be undesirable and dangerous if everyone belonged to one group (like the “users” group in SUSE) — but when each user is in their own group, the additional group permission is moot until you write into an SGID directory.


More: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filesystem_permissions#User_private_group

| improve this answer | |
  • Can you explain in a bit of plain English, please? :) – Oxwivi Nov 10 '11 at 13:55
  • Maybe this one could be helpful :) security.ias.edu/how-and-why-user-private-groups-unix – heartsmagic Nov 10 '11 at 14:02
  • "but when each user is in their own group, the additional group permission is moot until you write into an SGID directory." this helped it all click. Very few other resources make this point which if I understand UPGs is the whole reason to even have a UPG! Thank you so much :) – Nick Brady Oct 2 '19 at 16:36

Well, you could have services perform actions on your behalf, for instance. The service would have its own user account, and you would add that user to your primary group. You then give your primary group a certain set of permissions, which would then automatically be given to those services.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.