When did Access control list (ACL) come to Unix/Linux?

Traditional UNIX/Linux divided everyone on Earth into three groups:

  1. The owner of the file. This is usually the file creator.
  2. The team of the owner. This is usually other members on the same project so they can share files easily.
  3. Everyone else who can get access to the system.

As UNIX/Linux moved to larger platforms, and gained a larger user complement, the original groupings did not allow enough flexibility to manage users, auditors, developers, production streams, and on all the rest. ACL is a bolt-on accessory used to implement this fine level of resource control.

ACLs have been around for a long, long time; I first encountered ACLs way back in the late 70’s and they show up everywhere. Must have been a good idea.

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