UNIXvisual: A visualization tool for teaching the UNIX permission model

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Department of Computer Science


This paper describes UNIXvisual, which helps students learn access control in UNIX. UNIXvisual is aimed both at novice users, who need only to control access to their own files, and students of computer security, who need a deeper and more comprehensive understanding. UNIXvisual allows students to analyze permission settings without the need for a special environment. It allows a student to trace the value and effect of credentials within an executing process. It also provides a mechanism for instructors to give quizzes UNIXvisual gives instructors flexibility in covering the material by supporting self-study, lowers the overhead required for teaching access control by running under an ordinary user account, and enhances learning by leveraging visualization. UNIXvisual is available for download and runs on the Linux and MacOS platforms.

Publisher's Statement

© 2016 Copyright held by the owner/author(s). Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.1145/2899415.2925479

Publication Title

ITiCSE '16 Proceedings of the 2016 ACM Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education