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sixarm_ruby_rbac.gemspec → Ruby →
RBAC: Role Based Access Control


Ruby interface for the RBAC (Role Based Access Control) specification:

  • ANSI INCITS 359-2004
  • American National Standards Institute, Inc.
  • February 3, 2004

For docs go to

Want to help? We're happy to get pull requests.


To install using a Gemfile, add this:

gem "sixarm_ruby_rbac", ">= 1.0.5", "< 2"

To install using the command line, run this:

gem install sixarm_ruby_rbac -v ">= 1.0.5, < 2"

To install using the command line with high security, run this:

gem cert --add sixarm.pem && gem sources --add
gem install sixarm_ruby_rbac -v ">= 1.0.5, < 2" --trust-policy HighSecurity

To require the gem in your code:

require "sixarm_ruby_rbac"

What is Core RBAC?

Core RBAC includes these basic data elements:

  • user
  • assignment
  • role
  • grant
  • permission
  • operation
  • object

Association basics:

  • a user has many assignments
  • an assignment connects a user and a role
  • a role has many grants
  • a grant connects a role and a permission
  • a permission has many operations
  • an operation connections a permission and an object

RBAC model

The RBAC model as a whole is fundamentally defined in terms of individual users being assigned to roles and permissions being assigned to roles. A role is a means for naming many-to-many relationships among individual users and permissions. In addition, the core RBAC model includes a set of sessions (SESSIONS) where each session is a mapping between a user and an activated subset of roles that are assigned to the user.


A user is defined as a human being. Although the concept of a user can be extended to include machines, networks, or intelligent autonomous agents, the definition is limited to a person in this document for simplicity reasons.


A role is a job function within the context of an organization with some associated semantics regarding the authority and responsibility conferred on the user assigned to the role.


Permission is an approval to perform an operation on one or more RBAC protected objects.


An operation is an executable image of a program, which upon invocation executes some function for the user. The types of operations and objects that RBAC controls are dependent on the type of system in which it will be implemented. For example, within a file system, operations might include read, write, and execute; within a database management system, operations might include insert, delete, append and update.


The purpose of any access control mechanism is to protect system resources (i.e., protected objects). Consistent with earlier models of access control an object is an entity that contains or receives information.

System Implementations

For a system that implements RBAC, the objects can represent information containers (e.g., files, directories, in an operating system, and/or columns, rows, tables, and views within a database management system) or objects can represent exhaustible system resources, such as printers, disk space, and CPU cycles.

The set of objects covered by RBAC includes all of the objects listed in the permissions that are assigned to roles.

For More Information

Please see the complete ANSI 359-2004 pdf document.


Possible future upgrades:

  • 6.2 Hierarchical RBAC
  • 6.3 Static Separation of Duty (SSD) Relations.
  • 6.4 Dynamic Separation of Duty (SSD) Relations.