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simulating open for execute

is it possible to tell whether the current
process has execute permission on a particular
file, without actually executing it ?

given the results from a stat of the file, and
the contents of #c/user, it's easy to check user permissions,
but how is it possible to check whether the user is
a member of a particular group in order to check
the group and other permissions ? it's useful for a
shell to be able to do this when executing shell scripts.