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Discussion on: Rename your master branch in Azure Repos

stevetaylor profile image
Steve Taylor • Edited

Master has many meanings, almost all of them not related to slavery. The focus should be on eliminating “slave” as a metaphor in tech. In Git, the usage of “master” is more related to the concept of a master copy. I can definitely get behind removing “master” where it is actually used as a slavery metaphor.

jessehouwing profile image
Jesse Houwing Author • Edited

It's not 100% clear where the name master came from in Git. It likely came from BitKeeper, the source control system it replaced. Their docs talk about master and slave repositories. BitKeeper doesn't have a special concept for branches, it just sees them as another repo.

In the end it's often not what is meant by a name, it's how it's being interpreted. And many people use (correct or incorrect) the terms master and slave for forked repositories and for the main branch vs other branches.

We have good alternatives. There is no need to switch immediately. GitHub won't ban the usage of the term. But I do expect to see a change in defaults. There are many terms we could use instead to describe a similar relation between branches and repositories that do not have a possible negative connotation.