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Subject: RE: Groups vs. Roles

There are some issues with describing a group as an attribute of a user if
one is speaking about physical implementation. To support some operations it
is useful to think of a group as an entity unto itself. Group membership
does not seem to be the same type of thing as say "hair color", which is
indeed an attribute of an individual.

I think the distinction you make about policy assignment is useful.

On a slightly different tack, here is a comment extracted from some Ponder

"A role is thus a special case of a group, in which all the policies have
the same subject."

This would imply that although roles are useful, one never has to reference
a role from a policy. One can simply reference the group which has a one to
one mapping with the named role. This is not inconsistent with my first

"For all roles R, there exists a group G such that all members M of G have
role R."

> -----Original Message-----
> From: bill parducci [mailto:bill@parducci.net]
> Sent: Wednesday, July 25, 2001 3:59 PM
> To: 'xacml@lists.oasis-open.org'
> Subject: Re: Groups vs. Roles
> for my own edification, i would like to take a shot at this in lay
> terms...
> first, i believe that the discussion arose in response to a
> statement/question regarding groups being the same thing as 
> roles. i see
> the fundamental difference as this:
> groups identify who you ARE, roles describe what you [can] DO.
> therefore, a group is an attribute of a 'user' (or group), 
> while a role
> is a collection of policies that are applied to a user. 
> policies are not
> assigned directly to a user; by 'assigning' a policy to a 
> user, you are
> in actuality assigning a policy to the role that is applied the user,
> either explicitly (via a discretely defined role assigned to 
> a user) or
> implicitly (via the unique, unstated role assigned to a user for such
> reference).
> does this make sense?
> b
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