Wouldn't it be simpler to adequately set the umask and avoid polluting the group file?


3 Answers 3


in fact, the real problem is that every user MUST belong to a group.

the "old" way of adding users (in the first linux distros) was to put all users in one group, "users". it lead to problems, so the secure way of adding users: everyone is different.

unless you run a shell access box with many users, there is no real reason to put all accounts in the same group.

  • 1
    Yeah, but what are the problems involved in having a single group for all the users which cannot be solved by setting the right umask, such as 600?
    – moongoal
    Mar 9, 2014 at 14:35
  • not many, i'm not a fan of having many groups. one possible case: manually creating an username that will be used for a system process and forgetting to change its default <users> group
    – claudiuf
    Mar 14, 2014 at 2:08

In Linux, a process can belong to several groups at once. It has to belong at least to one, so give each user their own group, and use extra groups if you really want to give extra access. In original Unix only one group was allowed.


This seems like it's a duplicate of

https://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/153390/why-does-every-user-have-their-own-group ,

which has a better answer, describing the "User Private Groups" practice. In short: having a group for every user, combined with a few other things, makes it easier for teams to share a folder without each user having to do a lot of fidgety things like setting their umask and doing a lot of chmod'ing all the time.

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