back to article ZFS co-creator boots 'slave' out of OpenZFS codebase, says 'casual use' of term is 'unnecessary reference to a painful experience'

OpenZFS is the latest open-source project to eliminate objectionable language in its code. This week software engineer Matt Ahrens, who cofounded the enterprise-grade filing-system ZFS at Sun back in the day, submitted a GitHub pull request to "remove unnecessary references to slavery" from the OpenZFS codebase. "The horrible …

  1. cornetman Silver badge

    When people are frightened/offended by mere words, I worry how they will ever manage to cope with life.

    1. batfastad

      ^ Says everyone who has _never_ experienced any discrimination, hardship or oppression in their personal or professional lives.

      "mere words" to some are not to others. It is absolutely worth reflecting on the fact that so many words and phrases we might take as simple technical terms or have entered common parlance, have done so when the historical and oppressive origins were commonly known and widely accepted. Times have changed - we should reflect on usage of such phrases.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @batfastad - Holocaust is also

        [quote]"mere words" to some are not to others[/quote].

        So, in your immense wisdom what should we do with this word ? Care to suggest a replacement ?

        1. Claverhouse Silver badge

          Re: @batfastad - Holocaust is also

          Shoah was the traditional form.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @batfastad - Holocaust is also

            And Shoah conjures up the same feelings, which by woke-logic, means it's offensive as well.

      2. jake Silver badge

        experienced any discrimination, hardship or oppression in their personal (...) lives.

        "Says everyone who has _never_ experienced any discrimination, hardship or oppression in their personal or professional lives."

        As a Yank schoolboy in Yorkshire I experienced pretty much all of that for years, and I don't let words bother me. Intent, yes, but the words themselves, used elsewhere without that intent? Nope.

        Maybe I listened to too many Carlin records as a kid ...

        1. chivo243 Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: experienced any discrimination, hardship or oppression in their personal (...) lives.

          +1 For listening to Carlin... Once we remove all of these references, we will forget the reason we had those references, and likely to repeat them again. History is there to remind us of our mistakes, as well as celebrate the positive accomplishments. If all we had was good, when do things stop being good enough? And then what happens?

          1. Mr GIF

            Re: experienced any discrimination, hardship or oppression in their personal (...) lives.

            I think the song "Books are burning" by XTC puts this well.

            There's one line specifically which resonated. It described books and writing as a "wisdom hotline from the dead back to the living".

            Hell of a guitar solo at the end of that tune too!

            1. jake Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: experienced any discrimination, hardship or oppression in their personal (...) lives.

              "Books are Burning" doesn't scan for shit, and it must have been hell to try to put music to the lyrics ... but the message in there should be mandatory reading for everybody participating in this kerfuffle, Internet-wide.

              "Hell of a guitar solo at the end of that tune too!"

              Andy or Dave?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: experienced any discrimination, hardship or oppression in their personal (...) lives.

          "As a Yank schoolboy in Yorkshire I experienced pretty much all of that for years, and I don't let words bother me. Intent, yes, but the words themselves, used elsewhere without that intent? Nope."

          How did total strangers single you out to be spat on, shouted at or beaten up as you walked down the high street? Where you always wearing an Hawaiian shirt, tennis shoes and Bermuda shorts or something?

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: experienced any discrimination, hardship or oppression in their personal (...) lives.

            "How did total strangers single you out to be spat on, shouted at or beaten up as you walked down the high street?"

            My accent. That all happened to me one afternoon on the way home from school. My offense? I bought an 'ovis loaf from the local bakery. I was 12 years old. The five assailants were adults.

            "Where you always wearing an Hawaiian shirt, tennis shoes and Bermuda shorts or something?"

            When the above happened, I was wearing my school uniform.

            1. sabroni Silver badge

              Re: experienced any discrimination, hardship or oppression in their personal (...) lives.

              So one experience of discrimination makes you qualified to comment on white on black racism.

              An accent doesn't open you up to the same level of abuse that a black skin does. You're not going to get singled out immediately on sight.

              It's not nice to be picked on, maybe there's a lesson for you in that experience. Rather than resisting change, why not think of something you can do to help? If changing the names of things is so pointless maybe you can suggest some changes that would address discrimination better?

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: experienced any discrimination, hardship or oppression in their personal (...) lives.

                So in your mind, Sabroni, a techie writing a technical term with no malice aforethought in a techie publication intended for techies to read that happens to match a word which, when used in a completely different context and place, perhaps might show discrimination on the part of the user, is inexcusable and must be exorcised?

                And yet 5 adults beating up a child can safely be ignored as inconsequential in the great scheme of things?

                IMO you are one seriously fucked up individual, Sabroni. Seek help.

              2. martinusher Silver badge

                Re: experienced any discrimination, hardship or oppression in their personal (...) lives.

                >So one experience of discrimination makes you qualified to comment on white on black racism.

                Even a casual study of British social history would show that British discrimination is based entirely on class, not race. That doesn't mean that there's no racists, they're everywhere, but there's no institutional racism as such. The baked in discrimination is based entirely on your social standing -- color doesn't come into it.

                The kind of institutional racism that's endemic in much of the US is very different from the UK, the closest that you'll find is the systematic oppression of Catholics in Northern Ireland a generation or more ago. Its probably caused by taking another oppressed group and giving them the whip hand over a second group -- poor white Protestants get to kick poor white Catholics. The same mindset -- and people -- placed in a society where there's no restraint on their behavior led to the situation that's still common in the US (for, as you'd know if you lived here, its not being 'black' that's the problem, its 'being black and not knowing your place' -- a cook or janitor in the White House is fine, but President.......).

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: experienced any discrimination, hardship or oppression in their personal (...) lives.

                  https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmselect/cmhaff/427/42703.htm

              3. jake Silver badge

                Re: experienced any discrimination, hardship or oppression in their personal (...) lives.

                And to answer your question:

                "maybe you can suggest some changes that would address discrimination better?"

                Tolerance. From everybody. No exceptions. Yes, this means you.

        3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: experienced any discrimination, hardship or oppression in their personal (...) lives.

          "As a Yank schoolboy in Yorkshire"

          Was one or more of your parents a spook at RAF Menwith Hill? Or can you not answer that without having to kill me afterwards?

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: experienced any discrimination, hardship or oppression in their personal (...) lives.

            Both of my parents were and are civilians, and neither of them worked at an RAF base, to the best of my knowledge.

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "^ Says everyone who has _never_ experienced any discrimination, hardship or oppression in their personal or professional lives."

        That's an awfully big assumption to make about someone. In fact most of the people I've come across who get upset at these words are typically the privileged ones; the ones like mysel fwho have experienced hardship generally realise there are much more important things to worry about than semantics.

        1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

          Wish I could upvote this another 100 times.

          Just try swapping careers aged 40, from say a slimey horrid little factory worker to being a bright trainee spark at an IT job.

          Too old

          Too old

          Too old

          Too old

          Too old

          Too old

          Too old

          Too old

          Despite us older folks being more likely to turn up day in day out rather than a 21 yr old who cant be arsed after a night on the piss.

          I know , lets get rid of a word, that will make everyone feel better about history... plus we dont actually have to do anything practical to help people

          1. Mr GIF

            Hear hear!

            I tried changing careers at 25. Even that proved incredibly difficult as I was either "too old and experienced", or "too young and not qualified".

            I find that, as someone who has experienced discrimination on race, sex and orientation, those who are the most vocal about these things are ones who haven't been discriminated against.

            My view is that words will only hold power over you if you let them have that power.

          2. FIA

            I know , lets get rid of a word, that will make everyone feel better about history...

            No, let's not do that, but lets also not dilute it by using it as a casual term for things that can, retrospectivly, be much better named.

            The use of language, and what's acceptable, changes over time, it's not a huge issue, move on.

            Or should we value the offence of those who want it to remain over the offence of those who want it changed? (Because glorifying slavery is good? Intrangience is good?? Not really sure tbh).

            I think the latter probably outweigh the former.

            Jusy FYI, for those that don't really get it (and I would include myself in this) this might help:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sb9_qGOa9Go

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Thank you.

              Fia,

              Your youtube link is the most articulate and concise definition of the current 'Black' experience in the USA I have seen.

              Everyone who cannot understand what the anger and pain is about *needs* to see this and to research the background to all the points raised. (Not Facebook or twitter BUT read a real history book or three and understand the real life of 'Non-whites' in USA *and* around the world including the UK.

              Thank you. :)

            2. Snake Silver badge

              @FIA

              Incredible link, thank you for posting.

              In regards to some replies here, may I also add

              https://youtu.be/6O27_yBQ8Qc

        2. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Unhappy

          "there are much more important things to worry about than semantics."

          That, and the alternative of living in fear of whether you might *accidentally use* one of these "offensive" terms and then become a target for "cancellation" for the rest of your life...

          I must say one thing about the ZFS mods, which were submitted as a pull request. So in this case, it was not a hunch of activists *whining* about it, attempting to use 'activist techniques' to force OTHERS to do the work, but INSTEAD it was someone who literally took the time to do the work HIMSELF, and then submitted it to the project, "all ready to go".

      5. Steve Crook

        It's more common than you think.

        Well, around 50% of the population are female. So that's them covered. Then there's religion and skin colour. Some will be one or more of: old, short, fat, have red hair, be a goth, a hippie, homeless, disabled. They could be European immigrants, English living in Scotland Ireland or Wales, or vice versa.

        In modern terms of reference, I suspect that those who've **never** been the subject of discrimination, hardship or oppression are probably in a fairly small minority, the subject of discussion is the **extentt**. Which, I guess, is why someone thought up intersectionality.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's more common than you think.

          "I suspect that those who've **never** been the subject of discrimination, hardship or oppression are probably in a fairly small minority, "

          I'd disagree. but they are easy to identify as they are normally the ones saying there is, "no such thing as racism/sexism/[insert -ism of choice]."

      6. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Rather than argue about this, perhaps we should all pause and see if there have been any experiments conducted that shed light on whether the use of words influence our perception and biases?

        Such experiments have been conducted, and I'll leave it to you intelligent people to find them, and to look at their methodology and results.

        Cheers

    2. cbars Silver badge

      "MERE words"

      Are you a child?. Words are how humans pass knowledge from one generation to the next (or further!), they are without a doubt our greatest power, and by definition they carry meaning.

      Associating meaningful words - incorrectly - spreads incorrect ideas - which is what annoys people about politicians. Go and argue with Chinese sensors and tell them words have no impact, that they need a backbone. Go and tell victims of extremist religions, or go and stand in downtown {insert metropolitan US city} and argue about the n word.

      Taking offense is *taking*, so you can't always avoid inadvertently providing it, but you don't wander about wanking in peoples faces (I hope), because somebody taught you that is not acceptable - and they probably didn't need to show you, they just used words.

      1. cbars Silver badge

        missed edit: to be clear, responding with fear or getting upset by words is natural - most ancestors who didn't respond that way likely either fell off cliffs or got eaten, so its well baked in.

        Don't be proud that your emotional response doesnt match others around you - the lack of empathy is more of a weakness than (perceived) lack of rationality as it increases the risk of being ostracised.

      2. P. Lee Silver badge

        An argument ripped from context.

        I have a great deal of respect for openzfs, but a slave is likely to be an accurate descriptor for how the code behaves. It conveys understanding. "Primary" conveys less meaning. Who looks at the gitub Master and thinks, "that code is oppressing the subroutines!"

        The idiocy is in the idea that we have coders for whom experiencing the word is "painful." Worse, that the project organisers, knowing this, are pandering to to a non-existent problem raised by people who really seem to enjoy telling people what they can and can't do.

        I don't care if the project renames things, but I worry for a society where so many groups of people allow themselves to be manipulated by other people's purported feelings. It doesn't bode well for good judgement. No-one has slapped my around the face with the zfs codebase. No-one is standing on street corners yelling API calls at passers-by, "Oi, base.lib.openzfs.container.rename.slave(int shoes, varchar(clean)!" Perhaps this would end up with us losing out because people who have been through the slave markets of Islamic north Africa are not submitting patches, but I doubt it.

        1. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge
          Trollface

          Sub-routines?

          Don't.you mean hierarchically different?

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            Gimp

            Re: Sub-routines?

            No, he meant subs. ----------->

            Please don't discriminate against the sexually adventurous :-)

        2. cbars Silver badge

          The guy says he doesnt want to use this word as its applying an objectional human relationship to an abstract concept between software components.

          The response is that he is wrong because he has looked around at society and made a judgement call to respond to other peoples emotions (nobody told him to do this, I reject that part of the argument). If that is the argument, I will exit here, as that would be saying you should never act based on empathy...

          If your argument is that he shouldn't need to spend the effort because the word is "correct", then the only response is: yes, the word can be contextually interpreted to describe how two abstract constructs interact, but there are lots of words and the fact that you have an opinion on someone else's code base nomenclature justifies his decision.

          In my own code, I could use "bastard" for background threads, instead of "child". I could use "asexual spawn", but it doesn't matter, its an abstract construct and the name I use is only meaningful to humans reading the source, so I won't go with "bastard", or "my partner talks too much", because I'm aware that other people subjectively interpret words and my own opinion is not the only relevant variable.

          1. bombastic bob Silver badge
            Trollface

            In my own code, I could use "bastard" for background threads, instead of "child"

            A friend of mine once used 'semprini' in the code [as a function name] and I had to ask about it, having forgotten that particular Monty Python episode. I think I've used it at least twice since then.

            So now you got me thinking of terms I could cynically sneak in to just about any code I write. Wouldn't be the first time. Adding subtle references to "fridge moment" jokes is a programmer's perogative, and helps deal with the tedium. Heh.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          What is it with all these techie racists who see the word "slave" and automatically think about black people?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            What is it with all these techie racists who see that the word "slave" is being removed so fight to keep it?

            1. jake Silver badge

              What is it with all the anonymous cowards who insist that people using a technical term technically is racist, even when there is absolutely no context of racism in the place that word is being used?

              I'm beginning to think it's projection ...

      3. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Meh

        Intereasting... you started your post with: "Are you a child?"

        I recognize this particular technique. It ALWAYS seems pejorative to me, and very irritating (and I can add many more adjectives to this list, but I digress). I wonder how many 'incorrect ideas' such a leading question spreads? Ah, the irony...

        1. cbars Silver badge

          Good, I meant it pejoratively, to indicate that the opinion stated was immature and unsophisticated ( that words should have no emotional impact ). I mean no disrespect to the individual, just the sentiment

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            "I meant it pejoratively, to indicate that the opinion stated was immature and unsophisticated "

            Well, that's a shame, because I'm sure there are many people around the world who may be legally a "child" in their jurisdiction but are well educated and erudite and may even know more about the subject than you. Surely you could use a better pejorative than one which makes sweeping assumptions about a very large portion of the worlds population and is very likely incorrect with respect to significant portion of that sub-set.

            I look especially at the USA in this regard, particularly those states with a restriction on public alcohol purchase or consumption to those over 21 years of age. Anyone who is restricted by age must be, in legal terms, incapable of making their own decisions and so be either a child or mentally incapable.

        2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          So you obviously object to the term, "child process"

    3. tfb Silver badge

      My guess is that most people are offended by some words. I'm actually not brave enough to mention it here, but I would probably be very uncomfortable with code which used the 'N' from NWA, for instance, or offensive terms for Jewish people, or Scottish people, or Roma, and I think a lot of people would also be. I don't have a reaction like that to 'master' or 'slave' but I don't have recent ancestors who were slaves: most black americans, for instance, do, and I think it's reasonable to assume they might feel differently.

      It turns out words carry connotations, and have to be used carefully. Who knew?

      1. jake Silver badge
        Pint

        New?

        You are uncomfortable with the word new in code? As in New Weird America?

        OK. I guess we all have our hangups, but I'm not going to stop using that word, either. Sorry. Have a pint on me in compensation?

    4. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      We're not yet in a perfect world where people don't have to worry about "slave" being used on them.

      We watch Sci-Fi like Star-Trek and think that humans are going to evolve into a species capable of living in peace and traveling the galaxy. We watch the news and realize that humans still carry a unique form of stupidity and savagery that was somewhat out of sight until Trump put "strong and stupid" back in fashion.

      Politics aside, it would be nice if the ZFS folks fix free space integrity.

      1. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Why look to the Stars, when you can just take a trip down to Lybia? Do you think that "Slavery" (In that context), was somehow a thing of the ancient past? You poor poor delusional fool....

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For those who learn only one side of the history

    “I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races … I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races from living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be a position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.” - Abraham Lincoln

    Yep, the same who fought against slavery. Now go ahead and destroy that huge statue of him!

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: For those who learn only one side of the history

      It is possible for a person to realise their mistakes and change their mind.

      Be glad of this, and praise those who learn.

      1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

        Re: For those who learn only one side of the history

        He said similar after the war and was planning to send freed slaves back to Africa.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: For those who learn only one side of the history

        It's also possible for a politician to mindlessly align themselves with popular opinion of the time, whatever that may be, whatever their personal opinions may be, in order to garner more votes.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: For those who learn only one side of the history

          It's also possible likely for a politician to mindlessly align themselves with popular opinion of the time

          Seems more likely (to me) than just possible.

  3. FlippingGerman

    My first thought:

    Pointless, unnecessary, scared of words, etc.

    Then, on further contemplation: there's not really much (any?) downside to doing this, and while it's inconsequential to me, it might have some slight positive effect on others. So go for it.

    1. John Sager

      Re: My first thought:

      There is actually. It's a term of art with a specific and well-defined meaning in the context, like many others taken from common usage. The replacement - dependents - in its common meaning, doesn't really fit the technical meaning, so there will be a period of confusion.

      1. NetBlackOps Bronze badge

        Re: My first thought:

        Directed as an object in a sentence seems clear.

        1. Julz Silver badge

          Re: My first thought:

          To be directed, implies having a choice. Being a slave to a decision infers no choice.

          1. Solviva

            Re: My first thought:

            How about servant, or is that too close to server?

            1. tfb Silver badge

              Re: My first thought:

              'grunt' and 'officer'...

          2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

            Re: My first thought:

            Most of us that are employees have limited choice, other than to quit if we don't like the instructions. The key thing that makes slaves diifferent is that they are owned, and don't even have the choice to quit.

      2. Phil Lord

        Re: My first thought:

        I think that would be a good argument if we didn't continually the words we use because we are industry where fashionable buzzwords are part of our meat and drink.

        I mean this happens all the time, so really changing "slave" to "dependent" is really going to get lost in the noise.

    2. Mr GIF

      Re: My first thought:

      It just strikes me as unnecessary work. If there were truly a benefit, it would have been done long ago, no?

      Likely based on posturing more than anything.

    3. Pier Reviewer

      Re: My first thought:

      It’s a stupid idea. The only ppl it benefits are white guys who don’t want to be reminded what their race/nation did in the past and might be in some way linked to them. Yeah, let’s bury references to slavery. That’ll help ppl currently subjected to racism.

      The term slave in this context has nothing to do with slavery, racism etc. A poster above considers the use of “directed” in its stead. Directed also has more than one meaning. c.f. a directed graph. Is the graph taking instruction? Turns out words can have more than one meaning.

      Finally, the entire argument “well if it stops one person being unhappy surely it’s good?” is childish. It fails to understand and accept that there will always be ppl unhappy about the status quo, whatever that be. Take democracy for example. The unhappiness of a significant portion of the population is a mandated feature of democracy. It’s about the will of most ppl, not all.

      I’d be happy to make the bet that you can’t find a single thing that at least one person doesn’t find offensive. And that there is the issue with the childish argument - the grownups can and will game it for their own benefit.

      Can we stop with the ridiculous “I’m offended on behalf of X” bollocks please, and actually think like adults. There are so many things that we can do to help make racism etc a thing of the past. Changing the word slave in your codebase is not one of them. It is however the least effort you could humanly make...

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Re: My first thought:

        These terms don't come from the ZFS project, but from the Solr project. They have master/slave replication, but they also have a node which checks things - its called an Overseer node., which is a bit close to the bone. Changing these terms to "primary", "replica" and "monitor" doesn't change the understanding of what these roles are, but does remove racially charged terms.

        Ironically, in Solr the master does far more work than the slave nodes, as it does all the document ingestion, indexing and searching, whilst the slave just copies the index from the master and does searching.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: My first thought:

          >Changing these terms to "primary", "replica" and "monitor" doesn't change the understanding of what these roles are, but does remove racially charged terms.

          Not necessarily, a primary isn't necessary a master, a replica (or clone) cannot be assumed to be the same as a slave, and a monitor is different to an overseer (or supervisor). So these new terms now need to have a mystical IT meaning that people have to learn - welcome to the priesthood.

    4. CommanderGalaxian

      Re: My first thought:

      Loads. It is a common and well understood terminology in bus-based protocols. There's a gargantuan amount of code out there. People randomly changing terminology will cause a massive amount of confusion because one person's terminology will be meaningless to another person.

      His choice of "dependent" is wrong as an alternative term for "slave" device. Slave devices are not dependent on the Master device to function - if anything it is the other way around - the Master device is dependent on the Slave device to be able do its job.

      Something like Requester/Supplier keeps with the conceptual Master/Slave in terms of representing the functionality.

  4. Joe Montana

    What "painful experience" ?

    I doubt any of the people complaining about this have ever experienced slavery, and have only read about it in history books or news articles.

    1. NetBlackOps Bronze badge

      True, yet it still exists over a broad range of this world and the probability is somewhat higher than zero. I was counter-terrorism and counter-piracy many years ago. If I ever came across a slaver, I wouldn't hesitate to execute them along with the first two. Sorry if that offends anyone, but I have some hard lines on behaviors I allow in my world.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Due process of law is so cumbersome. Who cares about collateral damage?

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Slavery is still happening

      Even within the USA and UK.

      And indentured servitude is common.

      The aftermath of the UK official, legal slave ownership lasted until 2015. Yes, my taxes paid a slave owner.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Slavery is still happening

        You know what? I've never experienced paedophilia, but I'm still pretty convinced it's a bad thing.

        1. tfb Silver badge

          Re: Slavery is still happening

          And that's a great example. I came up with words I was not willing to even use in an earlier comment, but imagine code which had 'paedophile' threads in charge of 'child' threads (which perhaps they would 'groom' before 'coupling'). My guess is a lot of people would want those terms changed.

          I'm reminded of talking, long ago, to someone who said that you could tell that the people who wrote Unix didn't have children, because the terminology of parent processes killing and reaping their children was just horrible to someone who was a parent.

          Words mean things, it turns out.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Slavery is still happening

            "I'm reminded of talking, long ago, to someone who said that you could tell that the people who wrote Unix didn't have children, because the terminology of parent processes killing and reaping their children was just horrible to someone who was a parent."

            As a Unix user and a parent I've never even thought about conflating the two sets of meanings. I suppose I'm just not diligent enough in seeking out offence to take.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Slavery is still happening

              "I suppose I'm just not diligent enough in seeking out offence to take."

              Either that, or you are sane.

          2. jake Silver badge

            Re: Slavery is still happening

            "you could tell that the people who wrote Unix didn't have children"

            This premise is fundamentally flawed. Quite a few of the folks hacking on UNIX at Berkeley in the pre-BSD days through 4.4BSD had kids.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Slavery is still happening

        "The aftermath of the UK official, legal slave ownership lasted until 2015. "

        Can you explain what you mean in a bit more detail please? The abolition of slavery in the UK back in about 1835 seemed pretty comprehensive and final. True, those laws have since been repealed but only because they were made redundant by the human rights act.

        (On a lighter note, at the weekend a bunch of knuckle dragging far right agitators were "protecting" the statue to Earl Grey in Newcastle. Apart from the fact the statue is very high up in the air at the top of a column rather like Nelsons Column, but Earl Grey was the Prime Minister who got the Great Reform Bill passed, which got rid of "the Rotten Boroughs" which in turn got rid of much of the political powers of the pro-slavery lobby (they were buying the Rotten Boroughs parliamentary seats) and helped his government abolish slave ownership and freed the slaves. - there were caveats, as there always is in politics, but it finally happened - so it was very, very unlikely the BLM demonstrators were about to attack that particular statue, even if they could reach it!)

        1. anothercynic Silver badge

          Re: Slavery is still happening

          I suspect the OP you replied to refers to the fact that the money the British government borrowed to recompense slave owners for their loss after the legislation made slavery illegal, was not fully repaid to the lenders until 2015, and hence the view that until that debt was discharged, slavery was not officially 'dead'.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      US Prison System

      Slavery is still legal in the US, within its prison system. If you’re in jail you can be obliged to work without pay. AIUI The law banning slavery in the US makes this specific exception. Those license plates don’t get made by themselves.

      Given the modern day propensity for jailing people in the US for long spells on the back of convictions arguably of dubious safety for comparatively minor offences, well you can see why that’d annoy people.

  5. jake Silver badge

    Y'know, the funny thing about the word "slave" ...

    ... is that the most enslaved people in the European world prior to ~1600, and indeed the very people who gave us the word "slave" to describe this completely heinous state of affairs, aren't up in arms about it's use. In fact, I'll bet a good deal of money that many of the people who are posting here on ElReg and elsewhere saying that trying to remove it from the English Language is a daft idea are, in fact, descendants of these enslaved people.

    Who are all these descendants of slaves? That would be pretty much everyone with Slavic ancestors.

    With that said, the Old English þræl had pretty much the same meaning ... Perhaps cars should have Master cylinders and Thrall cylinders ... But I'll bet all the loot I just won above that the holier-than-thou set would bitch about that, too.

    1. Lunatic Looking For Asylum

      Re: Y'know, the funny thing about the word "slave" ...

      Careful - 'bitch' may get you in trouble...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Y'know, the funny thing about the word "slave" ...

        Exactly. If you're going to insist on bitching then you'd better be prepared to go dogging too.

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: Y'know, the funny thing about the word "slave" ...

        The bitch only gets me into trouble when she crosses a property line she isn't supposed to when we are out killing ground squirrels[0].

        Seems that nobody ever managed to teach a Whippet about the concept of private property ... nor did they manage to teach greenaholics about the massive infrastructure and other property damage that rodents/varmints cause.

        [0] Don't cry, greenie, we recycle ... the RedTail hawks circle overhead to take advantage of the free meal when we are out varminting. It's pretty funny, actually ... the birds are not carrion eaters, but they will happily take fresh whippet-kill, IF they actually see the dawg do the deed. Waste not, want not.

    2. WoodlessStickler

      Re: Y'know, the funny thing about the word "slave" ...

      You may want to check your sources. The word "slave" to describe a person of Slavic descent has a different etymology than the word "slave" to describe a person that is the legal property of another. The former arrived via the middle-Latin "sclavus" from the Greek "skylon" for loot whereas the latter derived from the middle-Greek "Sklabenoi". This confusion has been known since the 70ies.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Y'know, the funny thing about the word "slave" ...

        >You may want to check your sources.

        Funny how people think "slavery" only means a particular facet of the 17th to 18th-century trans-Atlantic trade, totally overlooking the fact that slavery has been part of human history for millenia..

        It was very heartening to see the rainbow being taken back during lockdown (as part of the support the NHS) to mean something more than LGBT...

  6. Freddellmeister

    Master and Servants

    Depeche Mode abolished slavery in 1984, so ZFS could have changed into Master and Servant, Domination's the name of the game.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Master and Servants

      What is to stop someone getting offended by those words also?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Master and Servants

        The definition of "servant" tend to imply a voluntary commitment. To bitch about being someone's servant then smacks hollow because one is bitching about a situation of one's own choice.

        Put it this way. There are those who take mortal offense at simply being called "Sir," even when the term is expected in the company of strangers.

      2. bazza Silver badge

        Re: Master and Servants

        It would be ridiculous if “servant” fell foul too. There’s more than half a million civil servants working for central government here in the UK, and no one bats an eyelid about the term.

      3. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Master and Servants

        "What is to stop someone getting offended by those words also?"

        I propose a new internet rule: If someone says it, someone else will be offended by it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Master and Servants

          The end of times has arrived !!!

          I actually agree with Bombastic Bob !!! :) ..... sort of !!!???

          [Although, I thought your rule was already 'running' as that defines 99% of the content of social media etc etc ....... which is why I do not go near it :) ]

        2. Charles 9 Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Master and Servants

          Oh brother. Next we'll be hearing drarves offended by being greeted "Hi" (What's so high about me?!), or even people just getting ticked off being called, "you" (You?! Who's you?! You talkin' to me?! I have a name, and yes, I expect you to know it!).

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Master and Servants

      Mistress

      --->

    3. Petalium

      Re: Master and Servants

      Grace Jones reintroduced it in 1985 with “Slave to the Rhythm"....

  7. revenant Silver badge

    Bollocks.

    If he thinks Dependent is a synonym for Slave, then I hope he doesn't have any children.

    If the chosen word is truly a better technical choice then fair enough, but he hasn't given that as a reason, so I must assume that he has decided to obscure the meaning of the relationship.

    I don't use OpenZFS and nor will I as I can't trust that the maintainer has the right technical focus.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bollocks.

      Yet you've decided not to use a piece of technology because - fundamentally - of a change of a word.

      And you're worried about the maintainer's right technical focus???

      1. revenant Silver badge

        Re: Bollocks.

        No, you missed the point of the last sentence. Specifically, if the maintainer is happy to change his code to be less meaningful, then I have to question the overall quality of his endeavours.

        1. Phil Lord

          Re: Bollocks.

          Really. It looks to me like you are saying that because someone has made a small and technically inconsequential change to their project on the basis of it reflecting in a mood change in society, you are not going to use their software. At the same time, you are saying that the maintainers lack technical focus. Even though you are prepared to make a decision without any reference to the technology at all.

          Makes no sense at all. Why don't you just drop the facade of "technical focus" and say "I will not use a piece of software whose maintainers make political decisions I disagree with". You'd have my vote on the underlying principal there, regardless of whether I agreed or disagreed with your politics.

          1. revenant Silver badge

            Re: Bollocks.

            No, it isn't a facade. I'm not apolitical, but I try not to be enslaved by my own views or by my antipathy to others' views. None of us has the luxury of picking and choosing the things we use in accordance with the political views of the creators of those things, so that would be a dumb reason to not use openzfs.

            If I had to use openzfs for some reason, then I would. If I had a choice, I would factor in what I've learned about the maintainer's attitude to quality.

          2. Mark 65

            Re: Bollocks.

            I think the point they're making is that his head isn't quite in the game. If you're there to write some quality storage code, pissing about with variable names because of the unknown offence they may or may not cause someone else is kind of losing focus.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Bollocks.

      Master-slave is less specific than the possible replacements being used in projects now. Check the examples if you don't believe me.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Bollocks.

        after having looked at that web site I'm not seeing anything particularly compelling.

        But I still like the possibility of using S&M terms like "dominant and submissive". Being cynical and snarky in the choice of terms would make up for not being able to use master/slave.

        1. Michael Habel Silver badge

          Re: Bollocks.

          How will I be able to chain up my IDE Devices if I can't set them to be either the Master, and or Slave. Zarquon knows that Cable Select is an utter dumpster fire.

    3. Steve Knox
      Boffin

      Re: Bollocks.

      Dependent is a synonym for the technical use case here, which was previously called Slave which was actually not as good a synonym.

      You're actually arguing from the general, rather than technical, terms. But hey, we can do that if you like.

      If you don't understand how dependent can be a synonym for slave, then I seriously doubt you ever had parents.

  8. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Call me cynical but a lot of these changes we are seeing in light of the George Floyd death and black life matters protests, are not usually brought about because someone of black or ethnic minority has actually made a complaint, but because of what some white person deems MIGHT be offensive if taken out of context. And after a quick google search of Matt Ahrens the person referenced in the article shows he is white.

    It is similar to the BBC and Netflix removing shows like Little Britain from their platforms, I doubt they have actually done any public consultation with people of BAME to see if they are offended by it. And with comedy there is ALWAYS going to be someone who finds a joke offensive.

    Changes like this really mean nothing in the big picture as they are not tackling the underlying racism that exists in society. We still allow gobshites like Farrage and Trump a platform for their racist agendas.

    1. Wade Burchette Silver badge

      Reminds me a true story. An American college used a Seminole Indian, or native American, as their mascot for the sport teams. The elitist in the NCAA -- the organization that oversees American college athletics -- deemed the mascot to be racist. This organization asked everyone what they thought, except for the native Americans themselves. Isn't that more racist than a mascot about a Indian tribe? Turns out, this one college had the approval and blessing of the Seminole nation to use the mascot. And so the NCAA backed down.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The University in question also happens to be one of the highest-profile colleges in Atlantic Coast Conference and the entire NCAA (and for that matter, the entire country full stop), being a 14-time national champion in nine different college sports (most particularly Gridiron Football, where they've won three times). IOW, they're one of the NCAA's biggest draws. As Badfinger once sang, "Will you walk away from a fool and his money...sonny?"

        For those not familiar with the subject, look up Florida State University.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I think if we were to look back in the BBC archives there'd be some quite racist comedy in there. All the rage in the 70s it seems.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Having lived though the time period in question, the sitcoms in particular were, if anything, anti-racist. The primary reason you don't see them on the repeat channels is because some of the terms used are on the naughty list and knuckle draggers won't understand the plot and just pick up and use the words they here. See, for example, Alf Garnet or the often hilarious Love Thy Neighbour.

        Stand up comics were often very non-PC and were often cringe inducing even at the time. Good riddance to many of those guys.

  9. OssianScotland Silver badge
    Flame

    Slave-1

    Just waiting for the Star Wars movies* to be blocked / banned over the name of Boba Fett's ship

    * Nice trilogy, good thing there weren't ever any more made - imagine what damage someone like Disney could do to them!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Slave-1

      Dear Canonical,

      I am offended by the package libmoosex-types-perl in Ubuntu. Please rename it immediately.

      Regards,

      A. Moose.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Political correctness gone mad

    I'm offended that others are offended that the computing term slave is now being banned. This is ludicrous and a total lack of respect for common sense. Please please someone justify this act of crazyness and confirm you were offended by zfs use of the term slave. Some one. Anyone. Don't all shout up at once.

    Love peace and respect to every man, woman or child. Your skin colour is irrelevant.

    PS. How do we deal with LACP bonds, SCSI, IDE second drives or K8 nodes ???

    And yes before being challenged that I wouldn't understand, growing up I got crap for being half Italian. Made me stronger. Bring it on world is my attitude.

    1. Phil Lord

      Re: Political correctness gone mad

      Here is the justification.

      It is a small change, which simply moves one name for another. It took them no time at all, because they were sensible enough to lock the pull request before a bunch of right wing nutjobs descended it. The change means that one of the more unpleasant parts of human history will no longer be used as a metaphor for a piece of computing.

      So a low impact change; won't make things a lot better, won't make anything worse.

      1. Zolko
        Mushroom

        Re: Political correctness gone mad

        "So a low impact change."

        that's obviously false, as proof they had to lock the PR. Technically, code-wise, you might be correct, but the impact can be of different types, and political or social fallout can be among them.

        "won't make things a lot better,"

        False again: it won't make any things better at all. Nobody complained before, it was only some self-imposed good-feel crusade. They didn't change the IDE master/slave naming, nor any other similar naming scheme which real people will actually see.

        "won't make anything worse."

        Yes, that one is True.

        Therefore, in summary, it's a PR stunt by someone in power to self-promote. Incidentally, it's by a white person to promote his own greatness on the pretence of black people. I don't know what is to be celebrated here.

        1. Phil Lord

          Re: Political correctness gone mad

          Locking the PR involves the impact of having to delete all the daft comments of the form that we have sen here. If it is a feel-good crusade, well, that's fine. It has made something a little bit better if people are feeling good.

          A PR stunt to self-promote? They just made a change. Lots of other people are doing all the self-promotion for them.

        2. Rich 2 Silver badge

          Re: Political correctness gone mad

          Actually, I would argue that it does make things worse. There is now a disparity in the naming convention with the Linux kernel (as described in the article). That reduces clarity.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Political correctness gone mad

      On the one hand, it's just a word, but on the other one, any language can depict easily the same mecanism intended to be described.

      Primary/secondary comes to mind and can apply to any system !

      There has never been a real *need* for the master/slave term.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Political correctness gone mad

        From my work in distributed systems: Primary/Secondary has a different meaning to Master/Slave - one of the systems I worked on had both: with one set of nodes running in Master/Slave mode (one master, several slaves), with each node (master, slave) being implemented as a Primary/Secondary failover pair.

        Fundamentally, if you want to remove the use of emotive words, then you are going to have to change the entire computer lexicon, so that textbooks, Standards etc. are all consistent and also get people to go back and revise existing code ie. a multi-decade task with near zero economic benefit.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So using the new ZFS terminology...

    ...I configure the Pimp and then I can mount as many Ho's as suits my requirements.

    1. b0llchit
      Coat

      Re: So using the new ZFS terminology...

      I'm offended by the term "mount". Please refrain from using it immediately. Mount must be banned because it has a sexual undertone and is therefore not appropriate. Computers are not like animal copulating pairs.

      Also, "male" and "female" connectors must be banned. There is a great need for asexual connectors because we must not discriminate against sexual preferences. And, connectors will always fit when enough pressure is applied.

      While we're at it,... "Plug and Play" must be banned too. All those plugs are not to be used for play. Holes must not be stuffed with plugs. It is not a play. It is serious work to procreate.

      /s

      1. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge
        Trollface

        Thank you

        For the sermon on the mount.

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: So using the new ZFS terminology...

        And touch, that's completely offensive! To say nothing of unzip, finger, strip and head.

        WE MUST BAN THEM ALL IMMEDIATELY!!!!!!one!!!1!

        UNIX pr0n: gawk, grep, unzip, touch, strip, init, uncompress, finger, find, route, whereis, which, mount, fsck, nice, more, yes, umount, head, expand, renice, restore, touch, whereis, which, route, mount, more, yes, umount, ping, make clean, sleep

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So using the new ZFS terminology...

        nice to know what you are doing when you mount a horse

        1. Maximum Delfango
          Paris Hilton

          Re: So using the new ZFS terminology...

          Paris... because...

      4. Mark Exclamation

        Re: So using the new ZFS terminology...

        "Also, "male" and "female" connectors must be banned."

        Indeed. We actually need 49 different kinds of connectors, including gender-neutral.

        1. Michael Habel Silver badge

          Re: So using the new ZFS terminology...

          TOO DAMNED RIGHT! There just isn't enough "DIVERSITY" with USB...

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: So using the new ZFS terminology...

            The fact that you try and put it in, rotate 180deg try again and then rotate another 180deg and succeed would seem to satisfy diversity

  12. Timto

    It's getting hard to keep up.

    Now I know how Winston Smith felt

  13. mevets

    Good for you, Mr Ahrens.

    I met you once, long ago; glad you are doing well. Glad you chose to make the world a bit better. Given the petulant whining from the close minded mob, it was a braver act than I would have thought. O2 Thieves, the lot of them; don't let them get you down.

  14. Plest

    FFS! "CONTEXT", people, context.

    The word slave is valid, it's inanimate object that does the bidding of another component. It is not a living, thinking, caring being with feelings, it's a piece of mechanical hardware or software that will never sentient ( we hope! ) and therefore will never need rights.

    What's worse is that this is all white-privileged people coming up with a lot of this nonsense, tyring to impose their sense of guilt on others, and further more for people of colour is also seen as incredibly patronising. Gwyneth Paltrow schmoozing a woman of colour. I find it far more offensive and patronising to go arounf being offended on others behalf. People of colour have been repressed for hundreds of years, they don't need patronising behaviour from over-privileged, sanctimonious white people. What they want is for society to change for the better so the skin colour is meaningless, we can all then just go on with our lives as just people..

    No denying the US slave trade was one of the worst acts of human babarity ever perpetrated, while we have the standard of living that may have come from the proceeds, none of us took part. Slavery continues to this day, we must fight to stamp it out and ensure everyone is free but making silly gestures like renaming a file pointer will not help. It is patronising, pointless and makes the developer look rather stupid.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: FFS! "CONTEXT", people, context.

      "The word slave is valid, it's inanimate object that does the bidding of another component. It is not a living, thinking, caring being with feelings, it's a piece of mechanical hardware or software that will never sentient ( we hope! ) and therefore will never need rights."

      There are people out there who would disagree with you, especially philosophers of an Eastern persuasion. What's to say inanimate objects can't be alive, too?

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: FFS! "CONTEXT", people, context.

      "No denying the US slave trade was one of the worst acts of human babarity ever perpetrated"

      Yes. I agree. However, get off the whole "US" thing. Virtually every country in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Indian Ocean basins were involved.

      On the Atlantic side, that's from the Africans who initially enslaved other Africans[0] for sale to the Portuguese and British for sale to the French and Spanish in the Caribbean and to the Yanks in the Carolinas (etc. ... there was more. Lots more.).

      Yes, the British. During the 18th Century, around 6 million Africans entered the Atlantic Slave Trade. Britain was responsible for about 2.5 million of them. That's nearly half. Stop trying to pretend there is no blood on your hands. Revisionist history doesn't work around here.

      (I gave the rest of your post a thumbs-up because I felt it deserved one.)

      [0] Yes, kiddies, really. Africans enslaved other Africans for sale to the Europeans. Did you think the British & Portuguese just parked a boat off the coast of Africa and invited the natives aboard?

      1. Def Silver badge

        Re: FFS! "CONTEXT", people, context.

        Yeah, really. Slavery was endemic in Africa for nearly a thousand years before Europeans pushed further south from the north of the continent, and slavery in general has existed since before written records existed.

        Interestingly, Britain actually managed to abolish all slavery from its shores from the middle of the 12th century up until the 1600s when we, sadly - and only after acquiring the colony of Virginia, reengaged in the practice again with an apparent desire to make up for lost time.

        More interestingly, the word Black in Old English was used primarily to describe someone with dark skin, while Sweart (a derivative of the Old Norse word Svartr) was more commonly used to describe the colour. But this is the nature of living languages. They change and evolve with time. It's a shame people can't do the same.

    3. HildyJ Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: FFS! "CONTEXT", people, context.

      First, while Master is a valid term used in all sorts of contexts, linking it with Slave, however, also links it with force and fear, not blind compliance for which servant would be a better choice.

      I have to wonder, though, why a developer or a company changing their terms causes such consternation? There are certainly examples of politically correct speech going off the deep end but I don't mind if a female coder is not called a codress or a female editor at ElReg is not called a editrix.

      Sometimes things change for the better, although not always quickly. According to my wife, it took two decades for the IRS to change its batch processing error message from "BOOB" (Batch Out Of Balance). A minor change made solely to make the female staff more comfortable. I don't see that as a bad thing.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: FFS! "CONTEXT", people, context.

        "a female editor at ElReg is not called a editrix."

        You obviously never met our old moderatrix, Ms. Bee ... who undoubtedly would have been perfectly happy with me calling Messrs. Trump & Johnson bumbling, blathering, boring, bombastic boobs.

        As for banning master/slave ...It's not that it's intrinsically a bad change, but rather that it's a change for change's sake and the thin edge of the slippery slope. People will be using this as a precedent to change pretty much any pet peeve, which is never a good idea.

        This lingo is firmly entrenched in the lingua franca of the computer and networking world (and other professions), and has been for a lot of years. If the language were used with negative intent, I'd be all for making the change ... but it's not. It is just a technical description for a very specific relationship between inanimate objects. Trying to make it into something it is not says more about the complainer than the folks who use it with no ill intent.

        And don't forget, making the change is not without real cost. Who is going to pay to re-write and swap out all the text books, for one thing. To say nothing of the masses of documentation out in the wild. Frankly, it's tilting at windmills just to make the tilter feel better about something that they never had anything to do with.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: FFS! "CONTEXT", people, context.

          Yes, the terms are used without malice, but the fact that seemingly nobody stopped to think that they might be, at best, a little insensitive, even way back when, says quite a lot, sadly.

          Of course I've always been aware of these terms in computing, but I've also always found them rather embarrassing ("Did you really have to call them that?"), and saddened that less loaded and potentially offensive terms weren't chosen, by people who undoubtedly were smart enough that they certainly could have a been a little more thoughtful.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: FFS! "CONTEXT", people, context.

            This. Needs more upvotes.

  15. Anon

    Homonym

    Weave herd of it, but 2 hard.

    (No /s necessary for the .uk site, I hope; don't let the side down, chaps.)

  16. herman Silver badge

    Sticks and stones can break my bones, but politically correct speech is mildly annoying, since it obfuscates our language and is an ever changeing fad.

  17. Paper
    Big Brother

    Censorship

    I'm not discrediting the need for systematic reform, and - well - some self-reflection by society as a whole (including us white folk). I feel that the developer world is quite partisan.

    At the same time, I'm a bit sick of social justice advocates deciding what can and cannot be said, what language is taboo or not.

    Does policing the minutia of language really contribute to the needed change? Or are we potentially alienating possible allies?

  18. ITS Retired

    How long will it take for the new Political Correct term itself to become offensive to someone?

    Usually what happens is that descriptive terms eventually become divorced from the description of the action being describe.

    Where does it end?

  19. Degenerate Scumbag

    Best to err on the safe side.

    To avoid this sensitive issue in my projects, I have replaced all master/slave references with ubermensch and untermensch.

    1. The commentard formerly known as Mister_C

      Re: Best to err on the safe side.

      You could consider "dom" and "sub". Until you need to install gimp.

      I've never been happy about trusting projects that are controlled by a git.

  20. sabroni Silver badge

    People keep changing this word

    Despite all you geniuses telling them how wrong they are.

    Wouldn't it be lovely if the people trying to change things for the better outnumbered those trying to stop them? As this goes on, and more and more code gets changed to remove the word slave, how far are you prepared to go to keep it?

    Why are you so invested in having the word slave in code you use?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: People keep changing this word

      "Why are you so invested in having the word slave in code you use?"

      Because as a technical word, used in a technical context, it precisely defines a specific relationship between two inanimate objects. It is the correct word to use, at least in the technical vernacular of the English language.

      I think a better question might be Why are some people so determined to shame other people into feeling guilty about an institution that the other people had absolutely nothing to do with?

      The trick cyclists of the world must be having a field day.

  21. Kevin Johnston Silver badge

    Political Correctness

    I find the following to be the best response to reports of poilitical correctness, as quoted by Billy Connolly...

    “Frank Zappa was correct when he said, ‘Political correctness is the language of cowardice. It’s the fear of confronting things. You can say someone is ‘so-and-so challenged’ but it’s an insult to them to assume they’re challenged by it. Tell it like it is. It will set you free.”

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A Better Idea......

    1. Hook up compilers and interpreters to the massive internet dictionaries out there.

    2. In code, BAN any word found online (see #1) -- except reserved words in the chosen computer language. Replace all banned words with random strings.

    *

    So...in place of a "hungarian notation" variable name like "strFirstName" .... we would get "mw34RTbNls6yyy".

    *

    There.....problem solved....except perhaps for the maintainers!!

  23. ST Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Why is this important?

    Does anyone here read OpenZFS code to rekindle their awareness of current social issues and events?

    Yeah, I didn't think so.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Why is this important?

      More to the point, of those of us who actually have read a significant portion of the ZFS source, how many became annoyed by the choice of technical terms used therein?

      Of the annoyed, how many were reading that source with the specific intent of becoming annoyed upon finding and reading those words completely out of context?

      Yeah, that's pretty much what I thought.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Why is this important?

        Don't care what's in the zfs source code but this will become the corporate cause for next year.

        Somebody in senior management will notice that everyone above the level of serf is a white golf buddy and order some diversity.

        Which means they go and play golf and we get stuck in a 'workshop' with a GROLIES 'facilitator' demanding that a racially diverse group of engineers role-play how words can have meanings.

  24. Norman Nescio

    Language changes, so we may as well get used to it.

    If looking for an alternative form of wording where compulsion of action is indicated, how about officer/private; or if a learned gloss is needed for the naming, Dux / Mīles or λοχᾱγός / ὁπλίτης e.g. "The dux issues commands to the mīles, which it performs".

  25. i1ya

    I don't know what pisses me off more

    People who waste their time on making terms in source code more politically correct, or ones who actively oppose this idea and start flame wars about it?

  26. Michael Habel Silver badge

    I wonder if that word in the sence of coding, and or phisical hardware, means what he thinks it means. because I don't think it means what he seems to be >implying. but, hay bending the knee is the new hep for post crown virus 2020 I guess. Give these left wing nuts an inch and, they will take upwards of six city blocks.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      1980s speech recognition software, traumatic brain injury or American?

  27. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

    "unnecessary reference to a painful experience"

    By who?

    Certainly nobody in the west.

    1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

      Wut? Google "modern slavery act". Or just click. And don't be so naive.

      1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

        Why are you pretending that that is what people are protesting about?

  28. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    OK, but

    Should we await someone's discovery of the etymological roots of "server"?

    ""

    servus (-ŏs ), i, m., and serva , ae, f.,

    I.a slave, servant, serf, serving-man; a female slave, maid-servant.

    """

    (Lewis and Short's Latin Dictionary, courtesy of perseus.tufts.edu)

  29. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    It's not about the words

    All words are simply hooks we use to hang concepts and objects. Words should never of themselves cause offence - it is the meaning and intent behind the words that are all that are relevant. That is true *even if* the contemporary meaning was derived from something distasteful. It is the meaning that the speaker/writer was conveying at the time that is the crux of the matter. The term "slave device" has nothing whatsoever to do with any form of human exploitation. Many English words have 2 or more meanings, and context is key.

    Conversely, just because a person has carefully chosen neutral or positive words to convey an offensive concept does not make it any less offensive. Many very offensive ideas have been sold using positive-sounding words. Such as "patriot," "freedom" and "democracy."

    What's next? Should I object to the term "execute a program" on the grounds that it might remind people of the death penalty? How about "whipped cream"?

    ISTM that there are people who are determined to take offence even when they know full well that no offence was intended, and nothing involving harm was being even obliquely referenced.

    I foresee that the home of the president in the US will soon be needing a coat of paint and a new name. Perhaps "The Orange House"?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Guus Leeuw

      Re: It's not about the words

      Dear Sir,

      That "orange house" reference will not gain traction in and around Ireland, I'm afraid to have to point out as a Dutch person.

      Interestingly enough, the Dutch have been part and partial to a lot of the situations that we now deem problematic. *But*, as has always been the case and will always be the case, animals will always exploit the weaker [animal]. Humans *have* a chance to stand above that most natural of instincts when it comes to treating humans who are different: Respect those differences, engage in them, and accept those differences. Any two people are *not* the same *ever*. However they can be treated the same. This is the concept of "Do not do onto others what you do not want others to do onto you".

      Just my two cents (whatever a cent is worth these days),

      Guus

  30. CommanderGalaxian

    Slave devices aren't "dependent" devices though - if anything it is the Master device that is dependent on data from the Slave device.

    Surely a better terminology would be Supplier (for Slave) and Requester (for Master)?

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