In Linux, you can create groups to assign a number of users access to common directories and files, based on permissions. You might assign everyone in accounting to a group named accounting, for example, and allow that group access to accounts payable files while disallowing access by other departments. Defined groups are maintained by the root operator, but you can use the newgrp command to temporarily join other groups in order to access files (as long as the root operator has added you to the other groups). You can also allow or deny access to your files by other groups by modifying the group permissions of your files.

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