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Thread: ‘Master,’ ‘Slave’ and the Fight Over Offensive Terms in Computing

  1. #1
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    Default ‘Master,’ ‘Slave’ and the Fight Over Offensive Terms in Computing

    This popped up in the KDE ‘Linux.com’ News Feed – <https://www.linux.com/featured/maste...ew-york-times/>.

    Hmmm → search further – <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master/slave_(technology)> – two references –

    Hmmm – seems to be an ongoing discussion – IETF and the Linux Kernel and, wherever else …
    Proposed alternatives for master/slave include:
    • primary/secondary
    • main/replica or subordinate
    • initiator/target
    • requester/responder
    • controller/device
    • host/worker or proxy
    • leader/follower
    • director/performer

    Proposed alternatives for blacklist/whitelist include:
    • denylist/allowlist
    • blocklist/passlist

    Gee – Golly gosh, engineers been using language which is currently “politically incorrect” for more years than I can remember …
    • Since the inception of hydraulic brake systems, the terms “master cylinder” and “slave cylinders” have been used – the Lockheed patent for hydraulic brakes dates back to 1917 …
    • The same goes for hydraulic clutch (vehicle transmission) systems …

    To be perfectly honest, I'm flabbergasted but, “have to move with the times” …

  2. #2
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    Default Re: ‘Master,’ ‘Slave’ and the Fight Over Offensive Terms in Computing

    I've seen lots about this kind of stuff and frankly I am perplexed as to why folks get upset by this. There are far more important things to be concerned about than ages old terminology. This is all part of the woke world we live in. 'Get a Life' is my response.

    Stuart (70+ year old engineer)

  3. #3
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    Cool Re: ‘Master,’ ‘Slave’ and the Fight Over Offensive Terms in Computing

    Quote Originally Posted by broadstairs View Post
    I am perplexed as to why folks get upset by this.
    Also 70+ with an Engineering degree –
    • Yes, I'm surprised by the current sensitivity to well-established engineering terminology …
    • On the other hand, when we “look over the fence”, there are many discussions going on with respect to the terminology related to various things, such as religious beliefs –
    • Martin Luther's translation of the Christian Bible from original (as possible) text to German has terminology which upsets some people …


    Possibly “being upset” is a human trait …

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    Default Re: ‘Master,’ ‘Slave’ and the Fight Over Offensive Terms in Computing

    Dont forget to add

    Male Plug/Female Socket - Yes its that petty/stupid

    Although I did hear a co-worker referring to one of their colleagues as BIOS the other day, that made me chuckle.

  5. #5
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    Cool Re: ‘Master,’ ‘Slave’ and the Fight Over Offensive Terms in Computing

    Quote Originally Posted by GOKIWI View Post
    Male Plug/Female Socket
    Wikipedia – <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender..._and_fasteners>.
    • We'll have to retrain all the plumbers on this planet …
    • «Idea» – Simultaneous vaccination and terminology schooling …
    • Alternative – “concave” and “convex” …

    “The Register” – <https://www.theregister.com/2020/07/...y_style_guide/>.

    Help!!! – I'll have to return to school to relearn all the technical terms I've been using over the years …

  6. #6
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    Default Re: ‘Master,’ ‘Slave’ and the Fight Over Offensive Terms in Computing

    There have long been sensitivities over language with sensitivities changing decade by decade and century by century - in the 17th century the English translators of the bible largely avoided using the words ‘slave’ and ‘congregation’ because people were sensitive about them - in the 1970s it was offensive language in relation to women which dominated language discussions - it is hardly surprising in the time of Black Lives Matter that this topic has come to the fore because it has huge sensitivity for many in the US.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: ‘Master,’ ‘Slave’ and the Fight Over Offensive Terms in Computing

    When you come in on Monday and find out a colleague has lost two children in a tragic accident, you suddenly realise that emotive technical terms such as killing, aborting, or terminating seem far less appropriate than more exact and neutral terms such as signalling or stopping.

    It doesn't cost much to consider the language we use and opt for conventions that are meaningful and neutral.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: ‘Master,’ ‘Slave’ and the Fight Over Offensive Terms in Computing

    Quote Originally Posted by mchnz View Post
    It doesn't cost much to consider the language we use and opt for conventions that are meaningful and neutral.
    Or alternatively people could stop being offended by every little thing.

    I swear, western societies have become a sea of emotionally incontinent people who in a real crisis would break down in pieces and would become even more useless than they are now.
    .: miuku @ #opensuse @ irc.libera.chat

  9. #9

    Cool Re: ‘Master,’ ‘Slave’ and the Fight Over Offensive Terms in Computing.

    Quote Originally Posted by dcurtisfra View Post
    This popped up in the KDE ‘Linux.com’ News Feed – <https://www.linux.com/featured/maste...ew-york-times/>.

    Hmmm → search further – <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master/slave_(technology)> – two references –

    Hmmm – seems to be an ongoing discussion – IETF and the Linux Kernel and, wherever else …


    Gee – Golly gosh, engineers been using language which is currently “politically incorrect” for more years than I can remember …
    • Since the inception of hydraulic brake systems, the terms “master cylinder” and “slave cylinders” have been used – the Lockheed patent for hydraulic brakes dates back to 1917 …
    • The same goes for hydraulic clutch (vehicle transmission) systems …

    To be perfectly honest, I'm flabbergasted but, “have to move with the times” …
    Why would ANYONE even consider changing these terms? More to the point, who at Opensuse subscribes to these language Nazis? Can anyone name anyone who is discouraged from getting computing because of these words? Who are they? If Sues wants to go down this path then count me out.

  10. #10

    Default Re: ‘Master,’ ‘Slave’ and the Fight Over Offensive Terms in Computing

    Quote Originally Posted by mchnz View Post
    When you come in on Monday and find out a colleague has lost two children in a tragic accident, you suddenly realise that emotive technical terms such as killing, aborting, or terminating seem far less appropriate than more exact and neutral terms such as signalling or stopping.

    It doesn't cost much to consider the language we use and opt for conventions that are meaningful and neutral.
    Most people know the difference between killing a programme and a dead child, obviously.

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