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Saeed Ahmad
Saeed Ahmad

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How to rename your master branch to something else

GitHub Master to Main

Well, we all might have heard that GitHub will remove the master naming convention for default branch.

Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-53050955

GitHub's Twitter page posted that it stands with the black community and the fight against racism.

There are many people who might be looking to rename their branch to something more clearer and better.

First of all let's understand what a master branch is?

In Git, "master" is a naming convention for a branch. After cloning (downloading) a project from a remote server, the resulting local repository has a single local branch: the so-called "master" branch. This means that "master" can be seen as a repository's "default" branch.

Why we are doing this?

The master-slave relationship in technology usually refers to a system where one - the master - controls other copies, or processes.

The years-old campaign to replace such terms has been given fresh impetus amid the resurgence of Black Lives Matter protests in the United States.

Mr Friedman's announcement came in a Twitter reply to Google Chrome developer Una Kravets, who said she would be happy to rename the "master" branch of the project to "main".

"If it prevents even a single black person from feeling more isolated in the tech community, feels like a no-brainer to me," she wrote. (Excerpt from BBC Report)

What are potential alternate names for master branch?

Alternate names can be:

  • main
  • edge
  • release
  • prod
  • production
  • live
  • default
  • head
  • primary
  • top

How to rename master branch to some other name?

Let's name our master branch to release

i. Checkout your master branch

git checkout master

ii. Create your release branch and switch to it

git branch release
git checkout release

iii. Push that to the server

git push origin release

iv. Delete the master branch reference on the server

git push origin :master

v. Delete the local master branch

git branch -d master

Your thoughts!

Let me know what can be a more better name for master branch?

Share your ideas in the comments section so that it's easier for new developers and programming community to decide the alternative or I must say original names for both terminologies.

Thank you for reading

๐Ÿ–ค #BlackLivesMatter ๐Ÿ–ค

Discussion (21)

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moopet profile image
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Ben Sinclair

I'm happy for people to rename "master" to "main" (or "production" or whatever you want, but there's no "master-slave naming convention for branches" at the moment. I've never seen a project with a branch called "slave". The picture you included implies that people conventionally use a branch called "slave" and I think that's misleading. I know the BBC article doesn't help, but when people look back at articles like this in years to come, they're going to get, at the very least, an inaccurate impression of history.

People use "slave" terminology for things like database replicas, hard drive connections, etc., and changing the names there could be a good improvement, at least going forward.

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rzr666 profile image
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RZR666

Nope I've never seen a slave branch either. It's becoming a bit ridiculous now.

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moopet profile image
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Ben Sinclair

I'm not trying to say people shouldn't do it, I'm pointing out that this specific instance is not representative.

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moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair • Edited on

@mrsaeeddev if you're going to hide my comment, could you reply to it here? I'm happy for you to correct me, but I don't get why you'd want to hide this.

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Saeed Ahmad Author • Edited on

Because master-slave is a general computer science term that is not specific to branches. So, I've seen many people using branches other than master as slave branches. I already had a long discussion with another person here on the same topic. Since I removed the world slave altogether from the post after reservations of people like you so, I feel there's no need for more discussion on this topic. It will only spark controversy. My personal motive behind this post is to support BLM movement and I don't want to spark any heated debates relating to it or any other topic. I hope it is clearer now.

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codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald

I'll be adopting devel for my team's repositories, complementary to our fresh and stable branches.

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

We're looking at...

edge (master)
testing (alpha)
release (beta)
stable
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codemouse92 profile image
Jason C. McDonald

Oooooo, I like edge even better than devel. I think I'll have to discuss this with my team.

The beautiful upshot of renaming master is that we can reopen some important conversations about repository workflow. We've all taken the master branch for granted, but we all use it differently. Perhaps its time we change that, and perhaps this will help.

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mrsaeeddev profile image
Saeed Ahmad Author

Yeah exactly. Now, we can rethink our strategies regarding that.

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Saeed Ahmad Author

I really like these names. Thank you for sharing Ben!

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Saeed Ahmad Author

Oh yes. These names sound good too.

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Roshan Sharma

Hey, nice post!
I'd like to add a bit though
git branch -m master main
to rename, followed by a push also seems to work fine.

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mrsaeeddev profile image
Saeed Ahmad Author

Thank you so much. I'll try this one-liner. This is more concise.

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Jesse Houwing • Edited on

Careful though... I did this on one repo where, as it turned out the master wasn't up to date with origin. So, from that moment on, I relied on branching from
origin/master instead of my local master after performing a fetch.

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mrsaeeddev profile image
Saeed Ahmad Author

I haven't tried it yet but thank you for pointing this out.

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Matthew Adams

Surprised you didnโ€™t suggest โ€œtrunkโ€.

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Saeed Ahmad Author

Oh yes. It sounds great.

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matthewadams profile image
Matthew Adams

...and goes back a long, long way.

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Saeed Ahmad Author • Edited on

Well, I'd prefer to name them as main (master), dev, test, and feature. I think to name them like that because it is more clear for the team. Even it's for the other people, you just look at the branch name and you get its purpose.

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zilti profile image
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Daniel Ziltener

This is one of the most stupid things I've heard of in a loooong time.

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Comment marked as low quality/non-constructive by the community. View Code of Conduct
WhatAHack

Oh, ye, sure that will change anything, you can also rebrand every cable on your pc. F U poser

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