Let me be clear here: I'm all for getting rid of master/slave in the context of disks, databases, DNS, ... the list is very, very long.

But when it comes to git, I always considered the term "master" in the same context as we use it in "master degree" or "master tournament".

There is no "git slave" after all, and that analogy wouldn't make much sense there.

While the transition phase may be a bit rocky, I'll happily switch to "main", though 🙂

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@fribbledom I like the idea, though it will take a while to rename branches for me. :)

Might also be a time to see if there is a another git workflow that works better, like devel/stage/production.

@fribbledom very cool github, how's that contract with ICE going

@fribbledom This has always confused me. Why is "master/slave" terminology considered racially charged? It seems like a mostly modern - and especially American-centric - viewpoint IMO.

It seems like all dramas about renaming things are American based

@fribbledom The article also mentions replacing terms like {black,white}list, which I never considered to be racially charged, so I did some research, and the etymology does not seem to support such a claim.

I consider it problematic if people jump to conclusions, assuming that any term involving "black" or "white" is somehow racist.

The term "master" is also used in plenty of contexts, e.g. "master craftsman", which have no racist underpinnings.

"Master/slave" is a bit more sensitive though.

@mikegerwitz @fribbledom @ryjen think of it this way. Nobody would make a new software product with an acronym of three Ks, even if etymologically it had nothing to do with the white supremacist organisation. Master, black/white, etc, can *grow* connotations that they didn’t start with. It costs the tiniest inconvenience to replace this language which BIPOC *tell us is harmful to them* with something more neutral. Listening to BIPOC and acting on simple requests like this is a *minimal* level of anti-racist behaviour to engage in as a white person compared to all the privilege we have received for that. Consider why you argue for the status quo when on purely technical grounds, tech folks are always pushing to try new things, to refactor. *Listening to BIPOC is social refactoring.*

@s0 @fribbledom @ryjen Three K's _does_ have a racist etymology, regardless of how it's used in the present.

Changing a term is a small inconvenience in a technical sense, yes. But that's not the problem that I see here. The problem is oversensitivity when a problem doesn't appear to actually exist. "Master/slave", yes. "Blacklist"?

Now, if someone points me to a legitimate historical reason why one should consider those terms to be racially charged, then the consideration would be valid.

@mikegerwitz @fribbledom @ryjen it isn’t “oversensitive” to listen to BIPOC instead of resting on your whiteness. It’s dead fucking simple

@s0 @fribbledom @ryjen See, now you are engaging in another behavior that is deeply disturbing: accusing my request for rational discourse as a rejection of some social movement, and accusing me of "whiteness", which in itself I can only assume to be a racist accusation in this context.

Be careful. This is a time for reflection and civil discourage. Language like this breeds unrest.

@mikegerwitz @fribbledom @ryjen oh no the civil and rational discourse brigade is uncomfortable because I... pointed out that the status quo is racist and always has been lol k bye

@s0 @fribbledom @ryjen I encourage you to consider conflicting viewpoints in a non-aggressive manner.

Aggression in contexts like these discourages discourse and has a chilling effect.

Inacting reform is a matter of debate, not demand.

There is much racist history in the status quo. I never disagreed with that. But this isn't a package deal. It's not racist to not accept every single demand that happens to include legitimate requests for change.

@s0 @fribbledom @ryjen But if it's just because it happens to to contain the terms "black" and "white" in contrast, that is a slippery slope---you can never please everyone. I'm well aware of that as an activist. If you cater to anyone who raises a fuss, what do you do the next time around?

I object to many terms. I fight against the very use of many terms. I fight against them for very concrete, objective reasons that I can rationalize.

@mikegerwitz @fribbledom @ryjen you literally used the phrase slippery slope unironically omg. Literally astounded how unaware you are lol

Changing the term is not the same as claiming that anyone using it so far was racist -- though I suspect that's the implied meaning you might perceive.

I view it more as "if you behave that way, you'll sometimes accidentally step on someone's toes, so let's not do that if there's no good reason to keep doing it" -- and there is in fact no very good reason to use "master" when you could use "main" just as well. "overdoing it" carries no actual risk.

@s0 @fribbledom @ryjen

@Mr_Teatime @s0 @fribbledom @ryjen My concern was more about the term "blacklist". The term "master" is more understandable to me, though I don't personally feel that Git uses it in a way as to imply a master/slave relationship.

But changing it will have consequences: a decade of documentation, blog posts, and other materials will become out-of-date. Git will have to gracefully handle both instances. People will be confused.

That's not to say that it's not worth considering.

I don't know how many people find "blacklist/whitelist" uncomfortable, so hard to say for me. You're right of course that changing something like this can cause confusion. So a lot depends on how the change is implemented.

I'd hope that the people at github (and its users) know something about keeping track of and dealing with changes, though :)
@s0 @fribbledom @ryjen

@mikegerwitz @s0 @fribbledom @ryjen because the "black" list is the list of untrusted/bad things and the "white" list is a list of trusted/good things. I think "redlist"/"greenlist" is a good alternative, replacing black/white with a traffic light analogy.

The question is: How much inconvenience does the change cause in comparison to how much problem it solves? Taking into account that the type of problem it tries to address has been horribly hard to get anyone to address for a long time. So it kinda makes sense to err on the safe side.

@s0 @fribbledom @ryjen

That's in their sick mind. A master is someone that knows more... Everywhere except in the south of United States

Everybody know it except in the south of United States

@pthenq1 As far as we're aware, most people call them "experts", not "masters". But maybe that's just us drowning in our Americanism.

But "master" as in lord of the castle and "slave" as in the servants taken from far away in order to serve him, are very much *not* American-centric terms, so you might wanna do more research before opening your mouth next time.

What's a MBA? Master of Business Administration? Do they have slaves? Is master a reference to slavery? Tell me more

@KitsuneAlicia @pthenq1 Chess has masters and grandmasters, Blizzard games has grandmasters and masters too at the top of the ladder. Martial arts also use the term.

@KitsuneAlicia I heard chess will be expunged of badness: there will be main and grandmains, no white or black pieces but blue and violet (even gray is too risky). They will use the reform opportunity to rule out horses because animal cruelty, king and queen because democracy (replaced by CEO, CFO and OOO), towers with buildings and the board will use earth colors like brown and green.

Yep, these people made the game their bitch and now they rule!

Whether you bend a piece of wood, your own body or other people to your will, you're a master all the same. Just a matter of context.

Being able to construct a non-offensive context for a potentially-offensive term is not enough to require all potentially-offended people to put up with it, just to avoid changing an inconsequential habit -- because you don't have their contexts.

@KitsuneAlicia @pthenq1

@Mr_Teatime @parasurv @KitsuneAlicia The opposite is true too: Someone could use a neutral or nice word and insult a group of people.

And because of that, we should not ban the word. 😃

You're right of course. And Github didn't ban the word, just replaced an instance of it. You're free to use it whenever you feel it's appropriate.

I was wearing the "Science works, Bitches!" T-Shirt from #XKCD, at a family party with lots of Carribean people, in London. A 6-year-old girl told me her mum had said to never use that word, and why was it on my shirt. That was hard to explain. Now I consider when and where to wear it. It's all about context.

@parasurv @KitsuneAlicia

@pthenq1 @parasurv @KitsuneAlicia
Actually ... there is of course the original meaning of "bitch" (female dog), but I bet that even zoologists are cautious with it these days because virtually no non-zoologist thinks of female dogs in the first instance when they hear the word, and I bet there's a large number of incredibly lame jokes around it which nobody working in the field can stand to hear or be reminded of after their first year.
Completely legitimate use, still better to avoid sometimes.

On the other end of the big pond, "master" refers to having control. Eiter by mastering some art/craft, or by being master over other people. It's the same word.

The master rules.

@fribbledom yikes this post brought out the racists like woodworms

@fribbledom yeah, i agree that git's default branch name has never really evoked connotations of slavery, unlike the enormous number of other instances in tech that you mention

my thinking is more that we should just avoid the word "master" entirely because techbros have proven they can't be trusted with it :blobcatglaredrink:

@fribbledom uh, never mind: it turns out git's use of the word "master" came from bitkeeper, which actually had "slave repositories" :blobfox0_0:

so uh. yeah, let's change it

@fribbledom An argument I have seen is that the "git master" came from the master/slave usage in bitkeeper, though I personally find that not convincing enough since bitkeeper has a totally different architecture compared to git. But that's an argument I have seen. I'm personally split on how far this elimination of master/slave should go.

Though I do think the elephant in the room here is that however inclusive GitHub decides to be, GitHub is still GitHub and does GitHub stuff... I'm fine with switching to main, but I still plan to migrate off GitHub for other reasons.

There's a lot of software that works fine with master branch and wrong with anything else.

Re create the cop departments, stop voting Republicans and stop accusing people if using words in the wrong context after its meaning was twisted. :blobcry: :blob_grinning_sweat:

@fribbledom I have no particular stance but from an observational point of view it's interesting how this actually happening the second time around - I remember this has been tried before not too long ago...!

@fribbledom yeah i'm happy to change too, no argument from me, but I always thought of Master as in like...rankings I guess? Like Novice, Professional, Master, Guru could be a possible rank system that would include it. No slaves just levels of experience.

@estoricru @fribbledom for me, it's pretty much synonymous with "main", or yeah as you said @estoricru , like "the master of all branches in this repository", "the one", etc, lol.

@fribbledom On the flip side, I have seen people refer to "enslavers" rather than "masters" or "owners" and I think I approve of that.

@gamehawk @fribbledom Very keen observation. Using force to make someone call you their master doesn't make you a master. To me a master is a teacher I respect. As a jazz musician, I am a white person with black masters.

@fribbledom I feel like avoiding "master" in general is good idea, etymology be damned.

Though I hope no-one is actually planning on "allow-exclude lists".
Because if "exclude" is used the antonym should be "include".
Though I feel like ideally it should be "allow-deny", "allow-block" etc. depending on what fits best in-context.

@fribbledom Though I doubt that last bit will happen, considering how hard it has been in the past to get software developers to be expressive or informative with their naming.

Some people don't even seem to be able to tell that there's a middle-ground between error messages which give you a super technical explanation (or an obtuse error code) and those annoyingly cloying "it seems we had a woopsy-doopsy, pwease twy again watew" pop-ups.

@fribbledom It's more like a master mold... the one from which other molds are made. The main one. The principle one. The fact that the word that replaced master does not denote a controlling relationship is telling. We don't need to eliminate the word from our language entirely.

@CarlCravens It isn’t; it’s a master/slave reference, inherited from BitKeeper.


Either etymology would be a bad fit on purely technical grounds for why it describes in git.

@fribbledom i saw this on twitter twitter.com/tobie/status/12702

it seems the git version was based on the bitkeeper one which seems to be a master/slave reference

@fribbledom But speaking of etymology:
I think that the "master" in Git makes more sense as the "master copy from which all other copies are made from". Like in audio recording etc.
But to me that should imply immutability and that it's in some way finalised.
Since that's counter to how most software is developed I feel like it's improper / inaccurate use of the term.
"Main" just makes more sense to me.

@Asimech @fribbledom "master" in Git is terminology inherited from BitKeeper, which does pair it with "slave".

@leigh @fribbledom Well, that just cements my "this is a good move" stance.
Not only is it bad terminology, it's "inherited" bad terminology with no real thought or justification behind choosing it in the first place.

@leigh Almost forgot: Thank you for sharing. I appreciate finding out when something has a problematic or questionable origin.

@Asimech @fribbledom in audio recording the origins of the term master copy refers to the fact that you use slave drives to copy to. So the master copy goes on the master drive and is copied onto the slave drives.

It's definitely a problematic term in that regard.

@kungtotte @fribbledom I did start wondering if there was something like that going on there as well.

Although I'm not sure how innocuous it could've been.
AFAIK even the "master" in "master [job]" is from the old master-apprentice relationship which was not exactly without it's problematic aspects.

@kungtotte Also thank you for sharing. It's always good to learn about origins for things, especially when they're problematic.

@fribbledom Coming from SVN, it took me a long time to get used to "master" instead of "trunk".

Many people, including the Git documentation, use the term "mainline", so something like "main" seems fine.

So I'm all for a debate of change. If the term "master" makes enough people uncomfortable, that's an important consideration.

In times of crisis, it's easy for people to be pressured into making changes. I think a cool-off period may be best so this can be discussed more constructively.

@fribbledom I don't think that's quite it (a Master's degree or masterpiece implies it comes after preceding work), the git use is similar to the recording technology use where a master copy is succeeded by 1st, 2nd, etc. generations of recordings. But yeah, it's too close to the older hydraulics use which was obviously referring to action

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