re: Github is replacing the word master to avoid slavery references. Deal with it. VIEW POST


everyone's negative reactions to this are so revealing.

if it truly wasn't a big deal to you what the word means, then you wouldn't be opposed to the change.

if you are opposed to the change, there isn't any logical reason to be. you're upset because now you've been forced to associate this word with its historically racist meaning, something that all developers of color have been forced to see from the beginning of their careers in tech.

to add to the point that the writer of this article is trying to get across to everyone: if you care to die on this hill, you definitely deserve to.


I love this 🙏❤️ Very well put.


This is the only comment here that matters. Well put.


Its just bollocks

people are offended with everything, and changing one term will not change anything.

fight for racial justice and equality should be fought on totaly different levels with laws, rules, courts and with knowledge.


People have been hurt by the terms we use for a lot of things for far longer than you've been aware of. That's the core issue here; there are people out there that have felt this for their entire lives.

Changing one term might not change anything, but being in software development you are probably aware that incremental improvements to a system accumulate in a large scale change of the system.


if it truly wasn't a big deal to you what the word means, then you wouldn't be opposed to the change.



This reminds me of the discussions about the LGBT+ colored response to git push on Bitbucket las year. At first I was like WTF is going on, what did I break!?

Then I googled it and was like "Ah... Ok... Cool", I spent no more than one minute on that search, plus like 10 minutes reading the reactions and a few more minutes talking about it with colleagues and laughing at the people that felt offended by it and that was it. No harm was done, we didn't have to update any of our tools, integrations or anything, and we spent time discussing the issues of the LGBT+ community and how close minded some people are about it. So objective fulfilled, nicely done Atlassian.

Few weeks ago I update my apps (I don't have auto-updates enabled) and see Reddit pushed an update just to change the icon to black, and I called my wife to show her the update message and we talked about it. Well done Reddit.

Now Github does this thing and I just feel it's like a cheap imitation of these. But whatever, I spent five minutes writing this, and that's it, moving on to the things that matter. If you, like me were privileged to be born in a family with the means to put you through a good college then go out there and help those who didn't get that advantage. That's how we build a better world.


I’m opposed to the change for the following reasons:

  1. As stated by the author, Git doesn’t make use of the master/slave metaphor.
  2. A lot of systems integrate with Git and treat master as the default branch, by default. A mass change of master to something else will fragment the ecosystem.

By themselves, these reasons aren’t enough. If master in Git was based on a slavery metaphor, then I’d have no issue making an effort to update my repos. But it isn’t, so why bother breaking and fragmenting an ecosystem over it?

Some other things that could be offensive:

  • Thighmaster
  • Masterfoods
  • Master a musical instrument
  • Master of Arts Degree in African-American Studies

As for those complaining that it’s political correctness gone too far, they should grow up. Sometimes you have to tweak your language to live peacefully with the people around you. I just don’t see this is as one of those cases.


The same reasons could also apply to the USB specification, which instead uses master-slave references since 1996 (USB 1.0 release). Forcing the USB-IF (USB Implementers Forum) to rename "master" and "slave" respectively for that specific reason will start a new level of debate, not just whether the rename is necessary, but also whether the entire USB specification should be cancelled as it promotes "slavery" to the devices.

So yes, enforcing political correctness to the technology today can break everything because of a change that is made for the sake of change (without considering interoperability).


Exactly -- I have over 200 repos. I'm not about to go update them all.

Changing the default branch from master breaks a bunch of tools, most especially the ones which bridge git with other vcs systems (hg, perforce, svn, etc).

Does anyone have a problem with a "master copy of a record"? Does this mean that "becoming a master of your craft" is oppressive?

git's source implies the "master record" analogy for the master branch; in addition, there are two places where I could find the word "slave", both tests:

  1. a test where the author was clearly reaching for two other branch names which are copies of the original -- this could be easily rectified with a minor commit
  2. perl scripts which refer to pseudo-terminal slaves; and I guess those are gonna get it too.

I brought this up at work, in an open environment. The PoC that I work with don't object to the term. All recognise the giant PITA this is going to become, via knock-on effect.

Meanwhile, whilst we churn with such trivialities, the people who actually killed PoC when their mandate was to protect and serve, go about their business -- most still in the same positions of power. GitHub continues to service ICE. Futile gesture much?

On the other hand, I don't want anyone to feel oppressed or sad at work. If this really means so much to so many, fine, let's change it. I've only seen a handful of people originally upset about it tho and much instigation after the fact :/

What's also really interesting, imo, is that the most vocal people about this have been !PoC (that I've seen). See above: "Futile gesture much?"

And again, I say: I could be well wrong -- I can't possibly know how all people feel -- so if this really means that much, cool, let's do it. Until someone decides that main isn't offensive for some other reason.

I would think if they were good at what they do you wouldn't have to worry about that.

I assume you're referring to the tools?

If so, here's some more info:

Git can be used to bridge to other VCS backends. In other words, I can run git locally and get it to sync up to an SVN server. On SVN, the convention is that trunk is the "main" branch, where on git, that's always been master. In both cases. there's no trivial way to "ask" what the "main" branch is -- GitHub's setting, for example, pertains to how others raise pull requests against your repo, not how git sees things.

This may sound silly (why bridge?), so I'll recount when I had to use git as a bridge:

I was doing work for a client who used TFS as their VCS. And not the "git-backed" TFS you may have heard of these days -- the older engine, which, like SVN, requires you to be able to connect to the server to commit. Which I couldn't always do. So in that case, I have two options: accumulate changes into one massive commit when I can finally connect and have (a) terrible history and (b) make it much harder to move incrementally forward (and, by extension, incrementally back, eg when experimenting on a new feature).

So, in this case, I would use the git-tfs bridge to run git locally (so I can use all of the distributed features and have small commits), and push to the TFS remote when I was able to connect (eg when I was on-site).

When tools which facilitate this kind of behavior break, that's bad for a lot of people involved.

Add to the conversation the fact that the author responsible for naming master as such has said that he intended it in the sense of master copy (as I've been suggesting the intent appeared to be from the source) and we have a massive movement to rename something which will take time and effort, has knock-on effects and doesn't even address what it sets out to, let alone the really big problems that are out there.

I still maintain: let's change the name if it makes a lot of people unhappy, but let's be honest about its origins and the fact that it's non-trivial to do so and will break systems which rely on established conventions.

Interesting. Thanks for telling me this. I've known a few people who've had to use both git and plastic (I have zero experience with plastic) for their work. Where git is either going to github/bitbucket or staying on their machine and plastic going to the server. It was a bit convoluted on their part but they had to for their sanity or policy (mostly for sanity).



I'm totally Not-Opposed to the rename. If you are really happy renaming your repos and after that feel that there's less opression in the world, go ahead. I won't agree, but won't oppose.

What really bugs me is a tendency to free associate anything and try to fix things that are not broken. Master in git is not referring to slavery. Master/slave jargon is not about people but about hardware and software. Who cares if they are slaves. Slavery is an institution that existed and we dont change that by not naming it. Should we suppose to be offended by history books then?

Also slavery is not limited to "black" race. And that leads me to whitelist and blacklist, which are totally NOT about races, but symbolism in colors.

And speaking of colores, so-called "black" people have not black skin but somewhere in the of brown scale. Same as the "white" people who have light-pink-yellowish skins.

There are no racial connotations in this use of the colors to represent "allow" vs "block".

If you are walking in the street and see a house with the lights on, you'll probably see more "white-ish" than "black-ish". Things will be in sight and the house would be more inviting for you to enter.
While if you found a house with all lights off, you will probably see more "dark - black-ish" picture, and probably can't see what's inside the darkness.

Many "dark" things were historically done by night, in part because one can hide in the darkness, but also because in absence of light, life vibrates different. Energy is different. See Netflix's "Night on Earth" for more of this.

Best regards

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