Just saw that there's tag for , with no usage guidance, and questions mostly about how "safe" something is. Seems like it should be a synonym of . Or nuked altogether.

  • 2
    Although both these terms are translated into many languages (including mine) using the same word, they are not interchangeable in English. See linkedin.com/pulse/… or usingenglish.com/forum/threads/63590-Safety-vs-Security for examples of the differences.
    – Melebius
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 9:48
  • @Melebius sure, but in the context of Ubuntu, I'd argue safety is a subset of security and an unnecessary tag
    – muru
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 9:49
  • Compare "Is it safe to type on my Ubuntu laptop while driving a car?" to "Is the Caesar cipher a secure encryption method?". :P Commented Apr 2, 2017 at 19:14
  • @AndreaLazzarotto is the former an ontopic question?
    – muru
    Commented Apr 2, 2017 at 23:14
  • Mine was a tongue-in-cheek remark adding to the point of @Melebius. Having said that, I have nothing against the idea of removing the safety tag, as long as we agree that safety and security are slightly different concepts. Commented Apr 2, 2017 at 23:57
  • On a more serious note, a Linux kernel driver in 2008 was deemed unsafe for certain models of Ethernet cards: bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=55667 Last year it was clear that running rm -rf / was bricking some computers with an UEFI firmware: phoronix.com/… If we want to extend the concept of safety to hardware, other than people, some questions might be on topic. Probably not too many to deserve a tag, though. :) Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 0:02

3 Answers 3


There are commands that are unsafe (variations on chmod and rm come to mind) but not exactly insecure (they don't expose the system to an attacker). So perhaps not really a synonym. However, the tag is vague and could be used for all kinds of randomness. I can't think of a situation when it would help to define the subject of a question. I think we should just get rid of it.


in computer science :

according to this paper Basic Concepts and Taxonomy of Dependable and Secure Computing safety is a property of dependability and security is a composite of the attributes of confidentiality, integrity, and availability.

this picture shows the relationship of dependability and security : enter image description here

note : The picture should not be interpreted as indicating that, for example, security developers have no interest in maintainability, or that there has been no research at all in the dependability field related to confidentiality rather it indicates where the main balance of interest and activity lies in each case.

by knowing the definition of these attributes the difference will be more clear :

  • availability: readiness for correct service.
  • reliability: continuity of correct service.
  • safety: absence of catastrophic consequences on the user(s) and the environment.
  • integrity: absence of improper system alterations.
  • maintainability: ability to undergo modifications and repairs.

according to these definition and difference between security and safety, you may need both security and safety.

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    Your argument might make sense if we created tags for everything that meant slightly different things. We don't. Are any of the questions tagged safety not about security?
    – muru
    Commented Mar 28, 2017 at 11:20

Safety is for the user standpoint and Security is for a program standpoint

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