back to article Linux kernel coders propose inclusive terminology coding guidelines, note: 'Arguments about why people should not be offended do not scale'

In the light of the 2020 "global reckoning on race relations" the Linux kernel developers have stepped up with proposed new inclusive terminology guidelines for their coding community. The proposal came from Intel principal engineer Dan Williams and won support from other Linux maintainers including Chris Mason and Greg Kroah- …

  1. b0llchit
    Facepalm

    Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

    The word replacement game is simply that, a game. The etymology argument may not scale well. However, neither does "replace X with Y" scale.

    Any word used will eventually be frowned upon. Example: a deny-list is discriminatory. It is, by definition, a non-inclusive statement. It is meant to be discriminatory because its whole function is to exclude. Another example: a subordinate is by definition non-free. The overlord to the subordinate is in control because it is meant to be a very strict hierarchical architecture.

    What do we gain by replacing words today? Some will feel better, sure. However, does any of this word-swapping game change people's minds? Do we solve the actual problem? As long as this is just a game hiding the symptoms, we are all worse of by playing this game.

    1. Adair Silver badge

      Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

      The question is: is there an issue that should be addressed?

      If 'Yes' then

      Do something OR do nothing

      If something THEN better it were done with grace and good will, so that we can all raise our eyes to higher horizons and get on.

      1. Sandgrounder

        Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

        Oh yes, the classic SOMETHING MUST BE DONE rallying cry so beloved of politicians and management.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. cyberdemon
          Facepalm

          Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

          "Something must be seen to be done"

          Whether or not something is actually DONE is apparently irrelevant.

          1. P. Lee Silver badge

            Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

            With apologies to Shakespeare, “a slave by any other name is just as bitter.”

            Unless you change the nature of the function call, it is all sound and fury, signifying nothing.

            Are we going to set the subroutines free... or is this just stupidity?

            1. BitEagle

              Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

              ...and if we avoid the world "slave", will African-Americans decide that the debt owing to them is paid and the slate is now wiped clean?

              What about those the Romans took into servitude in tribute from their empire? What will we call them? Involuntary employees?

              This is just another empty example of virtue signalling.

        3. G.Y.

          sylllogism Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

          We must do something

          This is something

          Therefore we must do this

          (source: Yes, minister)

      2. Inkey
        Alien

        Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

        @Adir

        To some degree yes.... But buy changing words aren't we in danger of earseing history by proxy.. It's not going to change the great unwashed collective bias, or stereo type racial personification... I get why people want to do and to be seen doing something about other's suffering...and yeah I'm all for "doing" some thing..

        I'm just a little jaded by how the hype and marketing soft touch, dilutes the facts and as soon as the next drama that gets played out in the media, we'll be back to where we were before...

        1. Adair Silver badge

          Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

          Language changes all the time and meanings with it.

          Words that are freighted with meaning from past history are not neutral to everyone; where a word can be swapped out for another that does not carry an historical burden why not change it?

          The question here is why some folk are allowing themselves to be so exercised by something they wish to claim 'is of no account so why waste time on it'. If it is of no account why are they wasting their time on it?

          Clearly it is of account or I would not have gathered so many down-votes for what is demonstrably a very mild and not unreasonable statement.

          It would seem that perhaps some of us a very defensive about the ground we stand on.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

            Please, I find the term Folk offensive. The term 'Some Folk' (popular with US Presidents ) is one which has connotations in other countries with Far Right politics- especially in South Africa (the Volksfront) and Western Europe

            Seriously, language has nuances, which someone is going to find offensive. Either ADOS or Gernder or some other nuance - there is no clarity left in language which does not have the potential to offend.

          2. jgarbo

            Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

            So everything and everyone becomes "nice". Murderers, rapists, and other horrid people are now "less nice". Oh, I feel holier already...

            1. James 139

              Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

              You can't call them those terms, it's not "nice"!

              It's "intentional life extinguisher" and "non-consentual gentital fun timer"!

              Oh dang, I think I over rolled my eyes there...

            2. evilstormer@gmail.com

              Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

              Here in Russia we have all sorts of doublethink words and phrases used in state media, including the hugely memetic "negative growth".

              1. TeeCee Gold badge
                Coat

                Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

                In Russia, slavery forgets you!

          3. trindflo
            Unhappy

            Avoiding the terrible trivium

            The answer is why change for a fad? Am I to make a daily practice of enumerating my vocabulary to remove the words that have fallen from grace? I get no joy from making someone else feel miserable and will make accommodations for others, but the constant calls to reprogram ourselves strike me as a cruel game in itself.

          4. msobkow

            Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

            Why not change it? Because a few years later, they become offended by the replacement term. That has happened repeatedly with the First Nations here in Canada, and now they're muttering about being called "First Nations", the latest label to be used.

            As you said, the history doesn't change. Only the words do. And the words become associated with the history as euphamisms and end up just as offensive to those who are looking for things to be offended by.

      3. Snowy
        Flame

        Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

        No doing something that does not fix the problem is not doing something. All it does it make someone feel better while doing nothing.

        1. tfb Silver badge
          Alien

          Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

          This is 1-bit thinking. The state of the problem can't be described by a single bit: it is not either completely fixed or completely unfixed but instead it can be in a very large number of states in between those two extreme. Changing language clearly moves it in the more-fixed direction, and is very easy to do, so why not do it?

          And yes, changing language does matter: language is an enormously important part of what it means to be human – our use of language is arguably our single defining characteristic as a species. Choice of language is really important to humans at a really basic level (I don't mean picking between French or English or something, I mean choice of wording within a given natural language). Hasn't everyone read a book which makes them cry or makes them really angry? Or listened to a speech or a play and thought how wonderful it is? Or got really upset when arguing on the internet? Or tried really hard to upset someone when arguing on the internet? Why is it we endlessly go back to the words of Shakespeare, or Churchill, or the KJV? It's because language matters, a lot.

          Language matters because we are humans. Changing language matters because we are humans.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

            "Changing language matters because we are humans."

            Consider: George Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four". Constrain language - and you are trying to constrain thoughts. It does not remove the thoughts - it merely makes them unable to be debated.

      4. Filippo

        Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

        That's a very bad argument. Doing a "something" that effectively achieves nothing is worse than doing nothing, because it gives people a false sense of accomplishment, and in doing so it may hinder future attempts to do something that's actually effective. We should not give people ways to excuse themselves out of the fight.

        Any time you see a politician standing accused of having been ineffectual, and defending himself by claiming a laundry list of policies that have actually achieved nothing, you are seeing this effect in action.

        1. Drew Scriver Silver badge

          Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

          Doing "something" may in some cases set the stage for repeating the very evil that it is claiming to object to.

          Case in point is the removal of the auction block on a street corner in Fredericksburg, VA. No more will children be asking their parents (or school teachers) why a stone block is sitting in the middle of the sidewalk. No more will people be almost tripping over it and perhaps find out what happened on that very street corner not all that long ago.

          And no more will people's consciences be troubled by visible reminders of an ugly past.

          Out of sight, out of mind.

          "Those who forget their history are bound to repeat it."

      5. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

        Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

        There is no reason dude except the idiocy of the woke totalitarians.

      6. Adair Silver badge

        Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

        Wow, 40 downvotes! I'm impressed, I don't normally do so well relative to upvotes.

        But, I have to ask: is this really the hill you all plan to die on - even systemd is a more serious risk to public well being than changing some labels into less loaded terms.?

        1. keith_w Bronze badge

          Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

          I wouldn't worry about it too much. I don't know the demographics involved here but I wouldn't be surprised to find that your downvoters are a bunch of old white guys who also have absolutely no problem referring to a female as a c**t or b**tch, any male they dislike as a poufter, and persons of colour as any one of numerous disparaging terms related to their ancestry because they have absolutely no idea about the impact of the terms they use for others. My demographic: old white guy.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

            [...] wouldn't be surprised to find that your downvoters are a bunch of old white guys who also have absolutely no problem referring to a female as a c**t or b**tch, any male they dislike as a poufter, [..]"

            That is too broad a brush. Racist, misogynist, and homophobic slurs are common in many cultures. As one example - the fractures in the worldwide Anglican Church over such matters. Then look at the relevant laws of the countries of the illiberal factions.

            The old often learn a nuanced understanding of their society and the world. The young acquire or rebel with certainty - lacking the experience of applying nuances.

      7. intrigid

        Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

        In the great words of Homer Simpson: "We don't need a thinker, we need a doer! Someone who'll act without considering the consequences!"

    2. LucreLout Silver badge

      Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

      What do we gain by replacing words today? Some will feel better, sure. However, does any of this word-swapping game change people's minds? Do we solve the actual problem? As long as this is just a game hiding the symptoms, we are all worse of by playing this game.

      Agreed - I mean, getting upset about master slave terminology because people once bought and sold another is to miss the point: There are places in the world today where slavery is still happening, where one man may own another, such as Libya. This is a real problem in the present day, not some ephemeral ancestral possibility over which to naval gaze.

      Slavery was happening at scale in Britain until at least the 12th century, so its wholly possibly most of us are of slave stock if you look far enough back, and yet the impact of that upon 99.999999% of us is absolutely nil.

      While we have real problems in the world, we should not be devoting any time at all to worrying about terminology one ancestor may have used to describe another, and should instead be fixing the real problems of today.

      If you think master branches are a problem then it is because you have too much time on your hands, too thin a skin, and too few actual problems to occupy your mind. I have a master today, who I accord with the title as a mark of the respect he has earned in the style of martial arts he teaches me - I'm white and he's black, for those obsessed by racial games, and neither of us considers me his slave.

      1. cyberdemon
        Holmes

        Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

        Couldn't agree more. To virtue signal is to claim that you "care", but you are too lazy or selfish to do anything meaningful about the problem.

        Call me cynical, but this sort of thing could also be used to deliberately divide and disrupt an open source community or organisation..

        Oh well, I'm glad I am out of the nuclear remote handling industry, where I was working on a "Master/Slave Manipulator" (commonly abbreviated to MSM)

        1. SundogUK Silver badge

          Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

          Call me cynical, but this sort of thing IS BEING used to deliberately divide and disrupt an open source community or organization.

          FIFY

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

            I would suggest that it's more like this sort of thing is being used to disrupt our civilisation and culture.

            During the cold war, the Soviet Union sponsored terrorism in a big way. This is not even seriously denied. The intention was to cause tensions and cause our society to become less open and more restrictive so the Soviet Union looked less bad than it was. It largely failed to do any more than force people to go through metal detectors etc at airports.

            Now the Soviet Union was at this because when you have a large powerful country that holds a militarily unassailable position it's impossible to defeat it via military means. Any war would go nuclear, and can't be won. This leaves encouraging the target country to collapse economically or politically. The west successfully pushed the Soviet Union into economically imploding, and politically collapsing and the Soviet Unions attempt to do the same thing didn't achieve the same goal in the west.

            Now hypothetically speaking, if you were hostile to western civilisation today and wanted to cause our civilisation to collapse then how would you go about attacking it?

            Given the highly authoritarian outlook of both the extreme left and extreme right as soon as something comes up they both pile onto it and become self reinforcing about "traitors" doing anything other than unconditionally agreeing with them and so are trivially controllable useful idiots.

            If you alternately pushed far left policies and then pushed far right groups to respond and then switched back to pushing far left types again then you'd set up a pendulum effect that would get steadily worse and more divisive and destructive with every swing, requiring fewer and fewer pushes to keep the effect going.

            A single fighter jet costs about a hundred million quid. If you put that into funding far left and far right groups and spending money raising their profile via advertising then you'd get probably about the situation that we are looking at now.

            It's reasonably obvious that somebody wants us all at each others throats.

            1. LucreLout Silver badge

              Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

              I would suggest that it's more like this sort of thing is being used to disrupt our civilisation and culture.

              Its gone from being a legitimate protest at an arrest gone wrong, to becoming something more akin to a cultural revolution in the red guards sense of the term. History, for all its wrongs is being painted over and knocked down because some people don't like that it happened. It's literally the dumbest possible thing to do with history. If you hide the facts you lose the lessons.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

                You might find the autopsy report enlightening.

                And search for "Excited Delirium Syndrome" after noting the toxicology section.

      2. Claptrap314 Silver badge

        Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

        Wait. Do you mean your race is white while his is black--or that your belt is white while his is black.

        Seriously, as soon as you went into the martial arts, my mind focuses color on the belt. I had to rethink that line in order to figure out that you might be talking about race.

        The deprecation of "master" branches is particularly annoying to me, because the term "master" in regard to copy-making has NEVER referred to the slave trade. In fact, the use of master-slave terminology in any IT context is rather illiterate, because master-copy is what is intended for every case that comes to mind. If people insist on being offended by what is clearly a technical term, (the slave portion of master-slave) then fix the "slave" part.

        Because we desperately need master craftsmen when it comes to our trades in IT.

        These navel gazers need to be fired for wasting everyone else's time.

        1. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

          Wait. Do you mean your race is white while his is black--or that your belt is white while his is black.

          At one time or another both were true, however in the current context only the former, because we're both black belts now though he is still my teacher.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

          "[...[ master-copy is what is intended for every case that comes to mind."

          In IT protocols at hardware or software levels that analogy does not fit. In asymmetrical exchanges the "master" always commands - and the "slave" responds.

          It could possibly be "initiator" and "responder" - but that could also mean an equal peer relationship where either could take the "initiator" role.

      3. tfb Silver badge

        Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

        While we have real problems in the world, we should not be devoting any time at all to worrying about terminology one ancestor may have used to describe another, and should instead be fixing the real problems of today.

        So do you think your martial arts master would be upset if I (I'm white) used some of the words that white people have, until recently, used to describe black people? Perhaps you might ask him.

        1. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

          So do you think your martial arts master would be upset if I (I'm white) used some of the words that white people have, until recently, used to describe black people?

          Given where and when he grew up I should imagine its like water off a ducks arse to him. He'd quite rightly not be very impressed with you and would opt to walk away from you at that point.

          I fail to see how you can equate such words with the word master - either you don't understand English very well, or are so riven by political correctness that its all you see in the world anymore. Either way, you've got this wrong.

      4. Bernard M. Orwell

        Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

        "Slavery was happening at scale in Britain until at least the 12th century, so its wholly possibly most of us are of slave stock if you look far enough back, and yet the impact of that upon 99.999999% of us is absolutely nil."

        Some excellent arguments in many posts here, both for and against, but I thought I'd add in some contemporary history that some readers may find deeply uncomfortable.

        Whilst it is true that Britain was one of the first western nations to declare slavery illegal, it had, up until that point, had its paws deep in the trough of human misery. It is not widely spoken of, but Scotland in particular was a fundamental part of the international slave trade for centuries, a practice which only ended in 1807, just over 200 years ago. It would be a bold argument indeed to say that a measure of the wealth of the UK, which remains in circulation today, was not obtained by means of our history of acting as a "middle man" for much of the actual transportation, if not so much the purchase and selling of slave labour.

        I think there is something far more contemporary about how the slave trade impacts and informs our culture than most would like to believe and its a weak argument to say that slavery is a matter than we can consign to history without considering the ramifications it has on our modern society.

        [Reference: https://www.nls.uk/collections/topics/slavery]

      5. keith_w Bronze badge

        Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

        The difference is that none of those slaves especially stood out in the general population. They could walk to the next village and unless they were wearing an identifying mark, no one would know the difference from the rest of the population. Yes, every civilization I have ever read about has had slaves. Doesn't make it right, doesn't mean we shouldn't continue to attempt correct the situation.

        1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

          Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

          The words you wrote imply strongly that "the situation" is actual current slavery. As I alluded to elsewhere, that is not happening in the US. Or England. Or Western Europe. (Outside certain isolated & highly illegal situations.)

          Of course, what we are in fact talking about is banning certain technical terms from IT. I do not know if this distortion is deliberate. I do know that such things are regularly done by dishonest people to drive arguments which lack substance.

    3. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

      When BFR changed into a Big Falcon Rocket a few people called others falcon idiots. Egghead has swapped back and forth between compliment and an insult depending on time and place. It was once fashionable for block people to call each other with a word derived from the Latin for clean shiny black (Latin has another word for dirty disgusting black that Romans and racists never used for people).

      I am sure horrible people will find ways to be offensive with the new words.

      'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone,' it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.'

      P.S.: Twitter to stop using sanity checks? Is there any evidence they ever started?

    4. katrinab Silver badge
      Megaphone

      Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

      "What do we gain by replacing words today?"

      We no longer push the very damaging myth that white=good, black=bad.

      Why do you think people originally chose those colours to represent good and bad?

      1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

        Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

        Because the night is dangerous relative to the day.

        Seriously, it was NEVER entirely about race.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

          But wouldn't that be "nightlist/daylist", "darklist/brightlist".

          The etymology of the terminology is interesting-- yes,yes, probably first mentioned in 1550, but still---who came to that decision and why.

          https://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/comments/866ynp/what_are_the_origins_of_the_words_blacklist_and/

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

            Those sounds like something that those self-identifying as Elves and Vampires might feel is discriminating!

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

            Why the fuck was I down voted.

            Give me the concrete fucking evidence the persons who first used it based it on something else and I'll retract my comment, which didn't even imply the other poster was wrong.

            For those who think I'm swearing too much, these words were used by the Anglo-Saxon, arguably with different meanings, but it only became a bad word after the Norman conquer. So there.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

        And there goes blacklist and whitelist.

        Well that's all right then.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

        Why do you think people originally chose those colours to represent good and bad?

        That concept was in the English language a thousand or more years before anyone English encountered a black person. So you tell me, why do you think?

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

          The English Language didn't exist a thousand or more years before anyone English encountered a black person. Come to think of it, neither did the English ...

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            1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. ratfox Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

          That concept was in the English language a thousand or more years before anyone English encountered a black person

          Er, no. Black people were known in Europe since before English language existed. Vikings were actually known for traveling a lot and bringing back prisoners, e.g:

          "In 862 AD the Annals of Ireland record the landing of black slaves [...] by Vikings returning from raids on Spain and North Africa."

          1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

            Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

            Which English language?

            In the era of Viking raids, the language used by the inhabitants of what is now England was Anglo-Saxon, commonly known as Old English. That language didn't derive much from Brythonic and Latin, so presumably the mythical Hengist and Horsa brought English with them.

            I have no idea whether the Anglo-Saxon of the incomers already used black and white figuratively, or whether they were familiar with black people. In view of the fact that there seems to be some dispute about where they came from, I doubt that anyone else has.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

              I have no idea whether the Anglo-Saxon of the incomers already used black and white figuratively, or whether they were familiar with black people.

              14th century writers of Middle English referred to dark skinned people as swart, from the Old English swaert, which presumably has the same proto-germanic root as the present day German schwarz. It's therefore much more likely that swaert was used to refer to dark skinned people than blaec (which has its roots in a word meaning burned. )

              The Vikings traded goods and slaves right into the heart of the Byzantine Empire (modern day Turkey) so would certainly have come across dark skinned people, though of course these Vikings would probably have had nothing to do with the ones that Alfred the Great, his children Edward and Æthelflæd, and grandson Æthelstan (the first king of the English) eventually battered into submission.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

                "The Vikings traded goods and slaves right into the heart of the Byzantine Empire [...]"

                Coastal areas of southern England were raided for slaves by pirates from North Africa too. IIRC there is a story of blonde-haired slaves in a Roman market who were "Angles" - and were described by someone in religious authority as being like "angels".

        3. tfb Silver badge

          Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

          People living in what is now England encountered black people long before England, or the English language existed.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

        So ... I take it you don't want your financial accounts to be in the "black"?

        1. fajensen Silver badge

          Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

          Nope! Black numbers represent lost Growth Potential!

          The fastest way to become an internet squillionaire is to set up a system to flare off billions of funding, leveraged to 80-200 times with zero-interest borrowing, while skimming (and scamming) a few ppm off that flow! Being profitable is so limiting!!

      5. ThatOne Silver badge

        Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

        > Why do you think people originally chose those colours to represent good and bad?

        Nonsense! The positive connotation of white is because it symbolizes light, and light stands for life, hope, purity, knowledge and wisdom. On the other hand black stands for night and darkness, this frightening situation every child goes through, associated with danger, death, and incapacity to see (thus ignorance).

        African toddlers are afraid of the dark just the same, it's an universal human thing which has nothing to do with the African slave trade. My point is that those color connotations would had been the same if inhabitants of Africa had the same skin color as Europeans, or if racism (a real thing) never existed.

    5. Graybyrd
      Windows

      Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

      Can anyone truthfully say that replacing the "N-word" with "N-word" really eliminated the N-word? When one hears "N-word," what is the first thing that pops into their head? Or the C-word. or F-word?

      And isn't it cute when somebody says, "I was effing pissed!" Sometimes silence is truly golden.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

        Apropos of the meta conversation, I posted the following about two and a half weeks ago:

        "Worse, how do they deal with the word f__k?"

        Which word would that be? Near as I can tell (with a little shell script and an open-source word list), in English that could be fank, feck, fink, firk, fisk, flak, folk, fork, fuck or funk.

        See how important using English unambiguously is?

        More to the point, why do people think that using placeholders to mask letters somehow changes the word into something non-profane? We (TINW) know you meant fuck, so fucking type fuck. If some fucker can't handle it, they can fucking leave.

        Or we can let the fuckheads who pretend to be easily shocked take over.

        1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

          And you missed fark.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

            I didn't miss fark. I chose not to include it for two reasons: First, because it wan't included in the open source word list I used, and second because it's not included in the OED.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

              "Please cough at a distance" = far cough.

              1. acid andy
                Thumb Up

                Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

                There's also a distant monarch named Far King L.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

          See how important using English unambiguously is?

          Nahh: Ambigous English is more exclusive. The underplayed insult that is correctly understood only by a few "insiders" properly shows ones class and station in life!

        3. BrownishMonstr Bronze badge

          Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

          Because the obscenity filter required it not be present.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

        "When one hears "N-word," what is the first thing that pops into their head? "

        Its like badly bleeped TV swearing, enough is left so there is no doubt to what the word is. If your intent is to call someone that word... tread carefully.

        That said, I think there should be space for people wanting to discuss the N-word without attaching it to a person. It leads to an interesting question. With the "taking back" of the N-word resulting in a changing of meaning. (I only hear it in Rap music and from TV racists). At what point does the changed meaning become the accepted one. See also the origin of "pillock". (BTW, the answer is "Not Yet")

        On UK TV we now almost routinely see "Bastard" and "Bitch" thrown around on early evening TV. Largely down to American shows that would normally be shown later being used to pad the schedule. (The ones that spring to mind are Big Bang Theory, Castle, and Bones) They sometimes pop up in our soaps too. When I was a kid, that would earn you a clout round the ear. Now we are listening to it as we eat our dinner.

        As an aside, in the UK, the C-word, while still a bad swear word, doesn't have the sexist/misogynist connotations it seems to have in the States. I mean, how many of us use it *frequently* to describe our politicians?

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

          The word "cunt" evolved from what used to be a perfectly acceptable and non-profane nautical term used to refer to the groove between two ropes laying side by side or in a coil.

          If we were to remove all swear-words in the English language, within a few days words that are perfectly acceptable today would become profanities.

          My parents never swore in my presence, so I was blissfully ignorant that such words existed up to the age of 5. Soon after starting school however, I learned some swear-words from the other kids and was delighted at how much upset I could cause to adults just by saying one of those words. Then my father told me that he was not upset at all by those words - but there was one term that I must *never* use because it was so bad. I begged him to tell me what it was. "Blue stockings," he whispered.

          Needless to say, that was what I used for swearing from then on, with all the adults who knew about my father's subterfuge putting on a satisfying display of disgust.

      3. keith_w Bronze badge

        Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

        I am pretty sure that "effing pissed!" refers to your state of mind (or possibly your body) and is not a derogatory term for someone else.

    6. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

      "Interrupt" is too harsh & militaristic. "Insert" is a sexist micro aggression. We need replacements for them as well.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

        I suspect "drag" will be on the ol' listie soon, too ... and "crash" is entirely too dangerous sounding. We will no longer be allowed to boot anything, it's obviously too violent. As for burning PROMs, well don't even think about it!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

          Remember peek and poke? Better forget them.

          Especially as both were performed without asking consent first, in the days before MMUs and userspace.

          1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

            "Kill" is another. Don't know how I forgot that one. My wife gives me a hard time when I suggest she "kill" an unresponsive task. She thinks it's too harsh a term.

            1. BrownishMonstr Bronze badge

              Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

              Do you have to encourage the application to work better?

      2. DrewWyatt

        Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

        Exactly. How far do you take it?

        There has been a big discussion about what term can be used to replace the horrible term "Whitespace" when working on Documents and page layouts.

        Blank space was suggested. No-go, as Blanc means white in other European languages.

        Text free space was suggested. No-go due to the implication that the rest of the text is therefore non-free.

        Intentional gaps was suggested. No-go due to the implication that the rest of the text is not intentional.

        Last I checked the discussion was round using the term "Areas included for typographic flow", which is a huge mouthful.

        1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge

          Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

          Devoid space. Although that sounds depressing.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

          Whitespace in code is often not for typographic flow, it has syntactical function.

          I therefore suggest Area Required for Syntactic Expression, which has a convenient acronym.

    7. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

        No, because nigger and slave aren't equivalent terms. Neither are master and owner.

    8. Mike the FlyingRat
      Facepalm

      Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

      Oh yes a deny-list is actually just as racist as a blacklist or a whitelist.

      I feel sorry for the PC crowd.

    9. Maelstorm

      Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

      The big problem that I have with this is that descriptive words that are used to define things in code are being frowned upon to satisfy the <1% of the population who thinks master-slave, black/white list, etc... is racist. The question that I have to ask these people is that once you label everything racist, then the term is so diluted that it becomes meaningless.

      I for one will not bow-tow to the mob. The code directives stay put.

      1. T. F. M. Reader
        Coat

        Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

        @Maelstorm: "I for one will not bow-tow to the mob."

        You may be blackmailed into that (or into kow-towing, if you are not in Newhaven).

    10. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

      I agree, up to a point. Blacklists were not racist, when conceived, they were just a death list, hence the colour black. But the term has been corrupted over the years.

      The same with Black Hat and White Hat, doesn't that come from B&W Western films, where the hero always wore a white hat and the bad guys always a black hat, so that you could keep track of them in a brawl... Again, nothing to do with racism, just the restrictions placed on early movie making.

      When I was a kid, I was a gay child. You can't call a kid gay these days, because its usage has become corrupted.

      Language evolves and words get corrupted or hijacked. That is part of life. As long as we don't forget the original meanings and don't "correct history", going back and replacing historical terms that were acceptable at the time with PC versions, because their meaning today has been hijacked.

      If the words cause offence today, what is the harm in using different terms in contemporary projects? Yes, those terms will also be corrupted at some point. But, for example., subordinate is very different to slave and has very different connotations, it is not about what has control and what is controlled, slavery is very different.

      1. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

        Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

        “Blacklist” was never “corrupted”.

        The “corruption” exists only in the minds of woke idiots.

      2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

        Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

        The word "slave" has indeed been replaced. The PC term these days is "Zero-hour contract worker"

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

        "don't "correct history", going back and replacing historical terms that were acceptable at the time with PC versions, because their meaning today has been hijacked."

        Wouldn't that be more confusing?

        Imagine someone reading "And Jack said to himself 'I am a gay man, I never feel unhappy' and went home to his loving wife" from an old text. As you said "Gay" has had its meaning changed then someone in the future might think "wow, Jack was a gay man but was still forced to be married to a woman".

        To understand text, you really need to understand the writer, so if you don't know the meanings of the words he used then you fail to understand the text.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

          Not if you also don't go and delete the original meanings from the dictionary.

          I often find words that don't make sense to me in classic literature and I go and double check the word and see that it used to have a different meaning. I like that challenge to what I know, I am always expanding my knowledge.

    11. General Purpose

      Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

      "Any word used will eventually be frowned upon."

      That's not true. There are 12,143 different words in the King James Bible and 31,534 in Shakespeare's works. Very few of them are now frowned upon or have ever been, and we've no reason to think they will be in another 400 years either.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

        So that's why Shakespeare is more entertaining and makes more sense than the bible ... Ol' Bill had a much larger vocabulary to work with.

        1. General Purpose

          Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

          To be fair, the King James translators had to deal with even smaller vocabularies in their Hebrew and Greek sources.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

          It used to amuse both my English teachers (Newnham and Somerville respectively) that the "school" editions of Shakespeare omitted naughty words like "urine" but missed all the really rude jokes because they didn't understand them. Then as now quite ordinary words had alternative meanings, and "keeping safe Nerissa's ring" certainly didn't involve a locked box.

          1. General Purpose

            Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

            Loeb editions normally have original text on the left, English translation on the right, but for the filthiest poems* it's Greek on the left and Latin translation on the right. This works very well - filthy poems are easy to find and you learn two sets of filthy words.

            *eg in the Palatine Anthology

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

    12. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

      I think the term block list isn't inusive enough.

      We should have an allow list and a not yet but maybe soon if they're good list (.txt).

    13. fajensen Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

      What do we gain by replacing words today?

      We get Change, without any Change. A very nice and useful thing to have. If one is one of the lucky few that gains tremendously from the current system.

      I'd say that Woke-ness and ID-pol has same kind of smells as the CIA influence operations that caused the lefties to atomise and tear each other to shreds rather than having a go at their capitalist oppressors, only now with a wider scope: Getting the proles to shatter into a billion fragments and then rip each other to shreads over words - while Wallstreet gets 200x the Apollo Program in Bailouts that the proles will pay over their greatly shortened-by-misery lifespans!

    14. DCFusor Silver badge

      Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

      When I architect and then code a "master-slave" protocol, my use of those words makes mere human slavery look like weak tea indeed.

      My master might also be a the creator, controlling the very existence of the slave, and the universe in which it exists. More like a god than a mere owner.

      The slave has an utterly abject existance. Unlke in human slavery, I don't have to feed it, I pay no penalty, even economic, for killing it. (oh, there's another word).

      And I'm going to execute that master code, which will in turn cause the slave code to be executed. I might burn it into a memory device first.

      Perhaps, as CS Lewis mentioned in his space trilogy, the problem is that some things are just too definite for words? It's the human use of master and slave that is crap, not the software one.

      But I guess like the transformation of the meaning of "hacker" from someone who was good at creating or finding unexpected uses for things into "cracker" - essentially a trespasser - we'll have to suck it up, and oops, there's another phrase of questionable derivation.

      It's only a flesh wound (M Python) and we can't win. Just being right isn't enough around the snowflakes, and appeasing them will work for us about as well as it did for Chamberlain

      Those who destroy history just make it easier to repeat. IF you're too easily offended to even learn it, well, here we go again.

    15. Graham Dawson Silver badge

      Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

      All they wanted was police reform.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Loaded words replaced by euphemisms

        And it doesn't look like they'll get that.

  2. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

    No problem with most of it, but...

    The circles I've moved in have usually talked about software client-server relationships for years, so no problem there, but the one word that nobody seems to be talking about is the term 'master', used to identify an item that exists purely to create exact replicas, such as the 'master' copy for producing commercial quantities of vinyl records and CDs.

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: No problem with most of it, but...

      From the article, I think that your "master", an original media entity to be copied, is going to be "source".

      Because "prototype" has already been bastardized.

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: No problem with most of it, but...

        "Because "prototype" has already been bastardized."

        What about archetype? It's much better than source. It also translates well into a few other languages, which source doesn't as it is overloaded.

        1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Re: No problem with most of it, but...

          Well... I don't use archetype every day. It's three syllables (I think?), some people won't enjoy spelling it, and I have a feeling that it doesn't scale well: to have multiple archetypes, or a series of daily archetypes containing the most current updates, doesn't feel right.

          I want to mention the situation where there is a "master" tape backup of data from the server and it is three years old.

    2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: No problem with most of it, but...

      It seems to me that "master" is primarily a problem when paired with "slave". I doubt whether any but the most fanatical would wish to get rid of masterpieces, master's degrees or five master sailing ships..

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: No problem with most of it, but...

        any but the most fanatical

        Sadly they are the ones that make the most noise, and any attempt at a reasoned rebuttal is shouted down with such violence that the sensible majority just give up, leaving the fanatics to crow that they "won".

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: No problem with most of it, but...

        I think those were five "masted" sailing ships. A sailing ship with 5 masters would be about as effective as a software project led by 5 different stakeholders.

        1. Captain Hogwash
          Joke

          Re: No problem with most of it, but...

          stakeholders. Hmmm. Sounds a bit aggressive, violent even.

          1. LucreLout Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: No problem with most of it, but...

            stakeholders. Hmmm. Sounds a bit aggressive, violent even.

            Won't somebody think of the vampires!!

            1. Sitaram Chamarty

              Re: No problem with most of it, but...

              or witches (burned at the "stake")?

              As a self-confessed fan of Hermione Granger, I take offense on her fictional behalf!

        2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

          Re: No problem with most of it, but...

          I think those were five "masted" sailing ships.

          Nope. From the OED:

          master, n.2

          A vessel having masts, esp. one with a specified number of masts, as in five-master, seven-master, etc.

          1. b0llchit
            Coat

            Re: No problem with most of it, but...

            master, n.2 - A vessel having masts...

            This cannot stand! It must be renamed immediately. From this day forth, a master shall be known as a primary. A five-primary and a seven-primary. They are now all primary. Front-seat vessels and no cargo is enslaved by the belly any more.

            /s

            Oh [wo]man, that coat must be sea-worthy, or else...

          2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: No problem with most of it, but...

            >A vessel having masts, esp. one with a specified number of masts, as in five-master,

            Interesting, I've never come across that useage. Have an upvote

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: No problem with most of it, but...

              It's a trifle archaic ... but is still in use to a degree. I have a friend who has several boats at a marina here in the Bay Area. He asked me to meet up with him "on his boat". When I got to the marina, I asked a mutual friend where John was ... The answer was "He's down in the bilge of his three-master."

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: No problem with most of it, but...

                Is that even archaic? It's a simple way of identifying a boat quickly.

                It reminds me of the ancient, and presumably now unusable, joke about the visitor to Liverpool* docks asking a docker "Where's the urinal?" and being told "I don't know, how many funnels has it got?"

                *Insert regional-intelligence-stereotyping location of choice.

                1. ThatOne Silver badge
                  Happy

                  Re: No problem with most of it, but...

                  > It's a simple way of identifying a boat quickly.

                  Provided it has masts!...

                  (Besides nowadays in a standard marina almost all sailing boats will be either sloops (1 mast) or ketches (with the occasional yawl)(2 masts), so characterization by number of masts is much like saying "he's the guy with the two legs over there".)

        3. macjules Silver badge

          Re: No problem with most of it, but...

          Shh, Remember: Vampire Unlives Matter

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: No problem with most of it, but...

          In fact a large sailing ship did have 5 masters: the sailing master and 4 quartermasters. The word has changed meaning somewhat.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No problem with most of it, but...

        Do you think I should abandon my campaign to have the BA degree renamed PA (Person of Arts) and MA renamed MMPFGAA (Master, mistress, pansexual, fluid gender or asexual of Arts? Perhaps it's a little over the top. Or under the bottom.

        Reductio ad absurdum isn't appropriate for a very serious subject, but the way some of this is going, it can hardly really be taken seriously. It's starting to have all the hallmarks of the liturgy of a religion, and monks pulling one another's beards over whether it's homoousion or homoiousion. Get the word wrong and be hacked to death by an angry group of fine citizens.

        1. Sitaram Chamarty

          Re: No problem with most of it, but...

          "Person" has "son" in it, offensive to daughters.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: No problem with most of it, but...

            True. Let's go back to BA only now standing for Being of Arts.

            1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
              Happy

              Re: No problem with most of it, but...

              How about:

              Bastard of Arts / Bastard of Science

              Massive-Bastard of Arts / Massive-Bastard of Science

              I guess PhD is not gender specific, so is fine?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: No problem with most of it, but...

                In today's world we are not allowed to discriminate based on marital status of parents. You would need to disambiguate the three kinds of bastard:

                Those whose parents were not married.

                Those whose parents were married but are genetically bastards.

                Those whose parents were married but achieved becoming bastards entirely by their own efforts.

      4. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: No problem with most of it, but...

        the problem is, it's the fanatical that make the most stink (in more ways than one).

        Welcome all to the world of Newspeak. Orwell was only off by 36 years.

        1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          Re: No problem with most of it, but...

          Agreed, 1984 should be required literature, especially for those woke idiots though not for politicians, they might consider it a manual.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: No problem with most of it, but...

            If you look at the "news management" of the current government, it's already too late: Cummings has been reading it for years.

      5. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

        Re: No problem with most of it, but...

        Master is not a problem even when paired with slave.

        It was never a problem until while middle class gender studies graduates decided to go after normal people.

  3. Smooth Newt Silver badge
    Happy

    Sexism too?

    ... and won support from other Linux maintainers including Chris Mason and Greg Kroah-Hartman.

    I feel Chris Mason and Greg Kroah-Hartman could work harder at eliminating offensive words from the vocabulary. It is not just racist terminology, but sexist too.

    For many, Mason is a reminder of the appalling Mason–Dixon line that marked the physical border between freedom and slavery, torture and death. For others, it is an abhorrent reference to Regular Freemasonry, a network of organizations that exclude women from their membership. And I don't need to point out the problems with Hartman.

    I think any reasonable person will agree that the inclusive alternatives of Bricklayer and Kroah-Hartperson should be adopted as soon as possible.

    1. Joe 59

      Re: Sexism too?

      As expected in a comments thread in The Reg, pedantry: The Mason - Dixon line had slave states North of it, all of them north of the line were slave states until the Civil War when the last one was Delaware. While technically to the East of most of the line, it was to the North of the southern part of the line because the line was the demarcation between it and the other states around it.

    2. cyberdemon
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Sexism too?

      @smooth newt

      I think the sarcasm in your post was lost on some people.

      Should this icon be banned? And the one with the helicopter on it too, because the colour of the helicopter is associated with the negative emotion of impending doom

    3. jake Silver badge

      Re: Sexism too?

      I have a friend from the Scottish Borders with the name Hartman. He says that his name derives from an ancestor who was in charge of the Royal Deer, including culling young bucks for the Royal Table.

      The obvious allusion to Bambi killers might make the children cry.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sexism too?

      I am a cripple and the word JUMP offends me!

  4. John Robson Silver badge

    Words matter...

    Though I'm not quite sure why "sanity check" is considered pejorative by any group.

    I don't know anyone who, despite their mental illnesses, would be called insane by either themselves or others.

    And I am struggling to think of any group who would consider it offensive... clearly my imagination isn't up to much - can anyone enlighten me?

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: Words matter...

      The term that had me boggling was "dummy value".

      As for "master" and "slave", replace them by "dom" and "sub" to be truly inclusive of the BDSM community.

      1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Words matter...

        > The term that had me boggling was "dummy value".

        "secondary" is the one that got my attention. I cannot for my life come up with a possible rephrasing of, for example, "primary and secondary server". Honest question: can anyone here? Virtual pint for "thanks in advance".

        1. 2+2=5 Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Words matter...

          "secondary" is the one that got my attention. I cannot for my life come up with a possible rephrasing of, for example, "primary and secondary server". Honest question: can anyone here? Virtual pint for "thanks in advance".

          In these woke times, surely the alternative for primary/secondary can only be influencer/follower?

      2. I am the liquor

        Re: The term that had me boggling was "dummy value".

        You have to wonder who is putting some of these things on the list.

        Perhaps someone so militantly in favour of inclusive terminology that they want to bar any term that might have ever been used as a playground insult.

        Or perhaps some opponent of inclusive terminology seeking to poison the well and support the "slippery slope" argument.

        Both seem equally possible.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: The term that had me boggling was "dummy value".

          Or perhaps it's simply curtain-twitchers and namby-pambys, doing what they always have, in an attempt to ensure that we all evolve into nameless, faceless, lowest common denominator grey goo with absolutely zero distinguishing characteristics?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The term that had me boggling was "dummy value".

            See Jurgen by James Branch Cabell, especially the bit about the Philistines.

      3. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: Words matter...

        As for "master" and "slave", replace them by "dom" and "sub" to be truly inclusive of the BDSM community.

        "Seme" and "Uke" to be inclusive of the Yaoi/BL community.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Words matter...

        You do realise, that the M in BDSM stands for a totally voluntary, explicitly wished for status in this relationship? As opposed to Masters and Slaves?

        Unless it was meant to be a joke, then I beg your pardon. The missing joke icon threw me off.

        1. Vincent Ballard
          Coat

          Re: Words matter...

          ?! The M stands for masochism.

    2. Shady
      Megaphone

      Re: Words matter...

      “Though I'm not quite sure why "sanity check" is considered pejorative by any group.”

      Perhaps people with mental health problems world consider it offensive. I would not (I have ASD and ADHD and know someone who is bipolar, they wouldn’t find offensive either, although I know that doesn’t speak for all those afflicted)

      Regardless, Sanity Check should be banned for one very good reason. In my experience, everyone who uses it in every day language is a complete and utter cnut.

      1. DryBones

        Re: Words matter...

        Or an engineer...

        *glaring*

      2. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: Words matter...

        Add one to my list of people in that group who don't find it offensive, the other list is still at zero...

        Anecdata isn't statistically significant, but at some point it adds up.

        I often do sanity checks - and, for instance, I encourage my kids to do the same on their maths homework. I suppose we could call them "reasonableness tests" but that's significantly harder to say, or spell.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Words matter...

      I used to call it "sanitary check".

      Does this code smell OK?

      Does it look like there are any bugs down there?

      If someone enters a turd, does it safely get flushed out?

  5. cyberdemon
    Facepalm

    Thin end of the wedge?

    While I support the BLM movement, I think going back and refactoring a huge codebase to remove banned words that were used without any malign connotation, could have ununtended consequences. Such as serious bugs being introduced into the code, or API compatibility issues.

    For example, grepping the linux kernel headers (just the headers, which all have API compatibility implications) there are 1645 lines containing the word "master" and 1550 lines containing the word "slave". Think of all the code reviews needed to expunge just two banned terms arising from today's moral panic. What about all the others, and what about tomorrow's moral panic?

    I highly doubt that anyone was intending any malice when they used these terms, no more than the inventor of the "kill" command, which "kills" a process along with all of its "children" had murderous intent. Or perhaps we should expunge that too, out of solidarity for victims of mass murder.

    I really don't see how borking the Linux kernel helps anyone?

    How about doing something real and tangible to address poverty, race and class inequality instead? Donate to education charities, support minority ethnic inclusion in tech outreach programs, vote Labour...

    Virtue signaling is one thing, but imposing it on the world's most well-established codebase is both worthless and self-defeating.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Thin end of the wedge?

      Yes if you go down the rabbit hole of being offended by daemons.

      But I think it's reasonable to remove some examples such as where "white " is a synonym for good and "black" for bad

      1. cyberdemon
        Big Brother

        Re: Thin end of the wedge?

        You mean whitelist/blacklist?

        Even these terms I doubt had any malign intent when they were used or even coined. It's like with an optical filter - a white one lets through photons while a black one does not. A whitelist lets through the specified packet types, like a list of holes in a punched card, while a blacklist blocks the specified types, like a list of un-punched "black" positions on the card.

        Are we to expunge all emotional reference to colour from our language then? Dark times ahead, I fear. (oops)

        All sounds like Newspeak to me..

        1. Julian Bradfield

          Re: Thin end of the wedge?

          That's not what blacklists are. The term goes back centuries, and is a list of bad (hence black, because black is bad in English culture) people, such as debtors, traitors, drunkards, or whatever. Networking blacklists ban bad hosts or bad packets.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Thin end of the wedge?

            "because black is bad in English culture"

            Are your books far enough into the black that you can afford that little black dress you've been drooling over?

            1. fwadman

              Re: Thin end of the wedge?

              I assume this came from normal numbers written in black ink and negative (bad) numbers written in red so they stand out, but thank you for a most excellent point. When people say "This companies is in the black" there is nothing at all racist about this and until just now it didn't even register with me that someone trying to be offended might object to it

            2. Julian Bradfield

              Re: Thin end of the wedge?

              Are you seriously suggesting that two niche 20th century positive uses of "black" are sufficient to outweigh six centuries and several pages in the dictionary of negative uses?

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Thin end of the wedge?

                No, I'm not suggesting anything. I am refuting (with examples) that black automatically means "bad" in English culture. It clearly does not. To suggest otherwise is to close one's eyes to reality.

                Is a black pudding bad when even the white bits are black?

            3. Smooth Newt Silver badge
              Happy

              Re: Thin end of the wedge?

              "because black is bad in English culture"

              Are your books far enough into the black that you can afford that little black dress you've been drooling over?

              But that dress wouldn't be suitable for black tie dinners, in fact it would be a bit of a white elephant.

      2. Sandgrounder

        Re: Thin end of the wedge?

        I'm fed up with this cultural appropriation of the term black. The idea that black is bad goes back to the dawn of human history.

        Which is more likely, a group of northern cave dwellers hiding away after sundown because they were frightened of far ranging equatorial tribes or frightened of the dark?

        Black belongs to everyone, not just people of a certain skin colour.

        Black can be bad. There, I said it. Send for the pitch forks.

        1. cyberdemon
          Devil

          Re: Thin end of the wedge?

          After all none of us are really black at all - nor are any of us white. We are all (in varying shades) Brown.

          The only thing that it is reasonable to do to repay the horrors of the past, is to stand up against those horrors when they appear in the present. Like (as someone mentioned above) the treatment of ethnic Libyans, Palestinians, Uighurs, Cantonese. We should be taking a stand against the actual oppression that exists today, not trying to white-wash (oh no! I said white) history - that only serves to demean those who continue to suffer.

          Not making bizarre, pointless and counter-productive changes to a piece of software that has bugger all to do with any of it!

          1. fwadman

            Re: Thin end of the wedge?

            Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. Historic slavery was bad - but let's abolish modern day slavery that's still going on - that's even worse (or if you're a BLM protester does it not matter that your clothes were made by people held in economic slavery)

          2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thin end of the wedge?

      Do you really think BLM cares about this?

      Do you really think a black person sering the word "slave" in a technical context will feel insulted that you're mocking all his murdered brothers?

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Thin end of the wedge?

        >Do you really think a black person sering the word "slave" in a technical context will feel insulted that you're mocking all his murdered brothers?

        Possibly not, but if every wrong answer in a math textbook was historically labelled "Jewish" answer and every correct one "Christian" answer - my math department might have a different ethnic makeup.

        1. cyberdemon
          WTF?

          Re: Thin end of the wedge?

          wtf? I nominate YAAC for the hyperbole of the year award. Is there an ignobel for that?

          1. Adair Silver badge

            Re: Thin end of the wedge?

            But YAAC is correct, their comparison simply highlights the issue. Simple words that may have a plain and inoffensive meaning from one cultural perspective can shout out the historical atrocities to another.

            But who gets all twisted out of shape at any suggestion of change?

            And yet change is happening all the time.

            Some of us don't cope with change at all well.

            1. FeepingCreature

              Re: Thin end of the wedge?

              YAAC is not correct, YAAC has just pulled a really sneaky bad argument.

              If "Christian" and "Jew" were used for "good" or "bad", they would be words with different meanings. YAAC is trying to leverage our current understanding of "Christian" and "Jew" against this fictional scenario where the meaning would be different. You can't do that and come to reasonable conclusions about the merits of words.

              I'm not saying that it would be okay if Christianlist meant inclusive and Jewishlist meant exclusive, but that's not because such an assignment of meaning would be inherently wrong or harmful, but because it would conflict with our established use of the words.

              There is no scientific evidence for the claim that the 'black' in 'blacklist' and in 'black person' select the same concept.

              1. cyberdemon
                IT Angle

                Re: Thin end of the wedge?

                > There is no scientific evidence for the claim that the 'black' in 'blacklist' and in 'black person' select the same concept.

                exactly. Can we stop wringing our hands and get on with life now plz? :@@

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Thin end of the wedge?

          That's a bad analogy. It describes purposely using the term of a group of people in a way to imply it's bad.

          It's actually completely different to using a word with an innocent meaning in context, for an innocent purpose, and then banning its use because it can be used elsewhere to describe a negative meaning.

          To follow through on your example, surely we need to now ban the word "Jewish"? The fact that we don't is actually more helpful to the opposite point of view that you were trying to defend.

      2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Thin end of the wedge?

          Racist? You truely ignorant sap.

    3. Mike Moyle Silver badge

      Re: Thin end of the wedge?

      "For example, grepping the linux kernel headers (just the headers, which all have API compatibility implications) there are 1645 lines containing the word "master" and 1550 lines containing the word "slave". Think of all the code reviews needed to expunge just two banned terms arising from today's moral panic. What about all the others, and what about tomorrow's moral panic?"

      I think this was referenced in TFA:

      "The proposal has allowed for exceptions when maintaining a userspace API or when updating a code for a specification that mandates those terms. "

      1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

        Re: Thin end of the wedge?

        Which means that the rework is going to be uneven, and itself will be subject to bickering.

        When I followed the LKML, there was near-constant bickering over technical issues. Glad to hear those have all been fixed.

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: Thin end of the wedge?

        In other words, the proponents are whitewashing the issue, making the appearance of "doing something" while not actually doing anything at all?

        (Note that "whitewashing" is a technical term involving the actual appearance of Ca(OH)2 after reacting with CO2, and in no way connotes the author is racist. Except I'm sure somebody will probably insist that I must be ...)

        1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          Re: Thin end of the wedge?

          (Note that "whitewashing" is a technical term involving the actual appearance of Ca(OH)2 after reacting with CO2, and in no way connotes the author is racist. Except I'm sure somebody will probably insist that I must be ...)

          Now I thought "whitewashing" originated from using a milk-based (or maybe even lead-based) cheap paint used to cover up imperfections and damage on a fence, wall, etc.

          1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

            Re: Thin end of the wedge?

            You are correct in the cheap paint, but wrong in the base (which happens to be chalk, a lot cheaper than lead).

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Thin end of the wedge?

              Whitewash is usually a mixture of lime, casein and water. Milk can be substituted for the casein and water, thus the term "milk paint". A chemical reaction cures and "plasticizes" the mixture, creating a long-wearing surface. Other colo(u)rs are available, depending on location. Us farmers are cheap bastards and will use whatever is local and plentiful .... if there is abundant red ochre (hematite, Fe2O3), local barns will be red. Note the present tense in this paragraph. We still do it this way.

      3. cyberdemon
        Mushroom

        Re: Thin end of the wedge?

        > "The proposal has allowed for exceptions when maintaining a userspace API or when updating a code for a specification that mandates those terms. "

        And what about when maintaining a kernel space API?

        ERROR Unresolved Symbol PCI_MASTER_READ

        Pretty sure that developers of proprietary kernel space drivers (e.g. NVIDIA, Intel) will be tearing their hair out at this

      4. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Thin end of the wedge?

        >"The proposal has allowed for exceptions when maintaining a userspace API or when updating a code for a specification that mandates those terms. "

        Moral of the story: Just make sure your specification mandates the use of certain words - says he taking his lead from decades old formal requirements specifications (see the Ada requirements documents) that defined precisely what Must, Shall, Should etc. mean within the context of the document. :)

        It amuses me that those shouting about words that should be dropped are very noncommital about what words should be used be used instead. Yes, Dan alludes to some alternatives, but doesn't actually commit to any. Personally, I'm happy to continue using Master-Slave, Primary-Secondary etc. because these words clearly and precisely convey the style of relationship between the objects being referred to.

    4. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Thin end of the wedge?

      Well yes - I had great fun proof reading my explanation to a customer talking about killing orphans and the various resources associated with daemons, children, parents, orphans, zombies...

      Having those terms was very useful since they actually have a real world analogue (well, except for the zombies) which helps people understand what is going on.

      Having to talk about forked and forkee processes would be chaos comparatively.

    5. SundogUK Silver badge

      Re: Thin end of the wedge?

      "...vote Labour."

      Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha...

      1. cyberdemon
        Coat

        Re: Thin end of the wedge?

        Lib Dem, then?

        <ducks>

    6. cbars Silver badge

      Re: Thin end of the wedge?

      "Virtue signaling is one thing, but imposing it on the world's most well-established codebase is both worthless and self-defeating"

      I disagree, this is one of the cases where it makes sense... consider the "virtue signal": the demonstration that one values an idea. OK, when done so by a teenager with no life experience - not particularly informative, useful or interesting. When done by an adult, or a teenager with some influence - potentially disruptive, depending on level of demonstration and alignment with the audiences valued ideas... now, when done so by the maintainers of "the world's most well-established codebase" - there is a great deal of influence to be wielded. By demonstrating that they value this idea, they send a powerful message, and that is the exact intention. The intention is not to set a precedent for refactoring regularly (how long has it been since this last happened, 30 years, never?), but to say that open source software is *open*.

      I don't think thats a bad signal to send, the code base has been built and maintained by volunteers, so I hope some of the noise around this signal catches the attention of a BAME person and they are motivated to join in and contribute.

      Also, as a signal, its marketing - and when did they care if the product description was 100% accurate, thats not the purpose, its to get attention!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Thin end of the wedge?

        Virtue 'signalling' should be replaced with being virtuous - which would include not wasting time with all the BS!

        1. cbars Silver badge

          Re: Thin end of the wedge?

          A comment with no context! What about when they're one and the same (as here!)

          You can't just expect people to interpret your behaviour and understand the underlying motivation for what you're doing, especially if thats *not* doing something and they haven't learned yet.

          For example: Children throw rocks at a dog (a moving target, what fun)

          An adult sees this, and quietly walks past the dog, clearly demonstrating his virtuous animal cruelty ideals.

          Good lesson? No. The adult, in my opinion, would be virtuous to tell the children "do not be cruel", so the next dog doesn't get blinded.

          This is absolutely not the same thing as saying loudly and for no reason "I care about the plants", or whatever it is that someone has said to annoy you, Anon

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My ideas...

    Offered freely:

    Master -> Pimp

    Slave -> Ho

    Kernel - Systemd

    Linus -> Bill

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: My ideas...

      "Kernel - Systemd"

      == a usable Linux system?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about when these are the appropriate term? "Slave" and "secondary, subordinate, replica or follower" absolutely do not cover the same relationships between things.

    I mean if Slaves were just subordinates we wouldn't be having this conversation. I'm a subordinate to my boss. I'm absolutely not his slave. And Slaves were not replicas or followers of their Masters. They were Slaves.

    All these words represent different relationship structures. That's why there are multiple words in the first place.

    * Any point where there's a single master device with absolute control over others, that's master/slave.

    * Chuck in things like "being able to finish one command before working on another" and you're getting a client/server relationship.

    * A functionally identical failover or load-balancing system is a primary/secondary/etc relationship or a replica.

    * A structure like Github where things derive from a root is Parent/Child.

    Yes, some things should be renamed. But they should be renamed because they're /technically/ wrong or misleading. Having two servers where one is a functionally identical backup is not a master/slave. Something like a simple SPI device is.

    No wonder they want to get rid of 'Sanity Check'. Presumably in that case it's the whole concept and not just the name?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Casual work conversation

      Casual workday conversation in 100 years.

      George: Mr Philby, what's a slave?

      Mr Philby: Shut up and keep on pulling that plough George, or I'll give you a good flogging and sell you off to the salt mine.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Casual work conversation

        George: "Mr Philby, you're treating me like a Replica! You're a complete Follower-driver, and a Primary of the art at that."

  8. Androgynous Cow Herd

    I am obviously a horrible person and possibly racist...

    I was doing some hard core audio engineering last week, preparing a series of mixed audio recordings for production of CD disks as well as streaming services, making sure that the recordings are of the proper loudness levels and peak dBs for correct playback on those platforms.

    This process is called "Mastering"

    And per the naming convention standards of the P&E guild of National Academy of Recording Arts and Science (NARAS...Aka "The Grammys" )...Each of the final output files is labeled "SONG TITLE- MASTER"

    I am a terrible person for using such derogatory and insensitive language.

    Consider this my public apology.

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: I am obviously a horrible person and possibly racist...

      " I was doing some hard core audio engineering last week, preparing a series of mixed audio recordings for production of CD disks as well as streaming services, making sure that the recordings are of the proper loudness levels and peak dBs for correct playback on those platforms."

      This process is called "Mastering"

      Oh, not at all. You were actually equalizing - quite noble of you!

    2. cyberdemon
      Flame

      Re: I am obviously a horrible person and possibly racist...

      No, you should be apologising for flattening off the peaks of your audio to make it sound "louder" instead of just choosing a level for each channel and sticking to it, so that the final mix doesn't "clip" in the loudest part, even if that sounds "quiet" to you. Good recordings should obey the superposition principle. Turn off your compressors and limiters.

      Pisses me off when what should be loud drum beats instead seem to "subtract" from the rest of the music (i.e. the music fades away either side of the drum beat) because some twat "audio engineer" thought it sounded louder that way.

      REALLY pisses me off when stations like Classic FM try to play something like the 1812 overture, and due to the compressors and limiters they use, at the very end it's nothing but a pathetic grey mush as the orchestra is supposed to reach its fortissimo peak and the cannons fire.

      If I want it louder I'll turn it up. Go away. You ARE a horrible person. But not a racist.

      1. Hubert Cumberdale

        Re: I am obviously a horrible person and possibly racist...

        Wish I could upvote you more. I'm afraid you and I are on the losing side of this war, though. Just compare the waveforms of any of the early CDs to those of any recorded from about 2005... the former is often an interesting landscape, the latter is usually a solid rectangle.

      2. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: I am obviously a horrible person and possibly racist...

        "No, you should be apologising for flattening off the peaks of your audio to make it sound "louder" instead of just choosing a level for each channel and sticking to it, so that the final mix doesn't "clip" in the loudest part, even if that sounds "quiet" to you. Good recordings should obey the superposition principle. Turn off your compressors and limiters."

        This is a really irritating thing for me. Digital music has all of these possible data points at the lowerend of the scale, and very few at the top (as it's done logarithmically, more or less). So rather than recording it quietly and then turning up the volume, it's recorded loudly and with very little fidelity.

      3. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: I am obviously a horrible person and possibly racist...

        Compressors have their place in the artistic manipulation of audio signals. They should rarely (if ever) be used on the output of a controlled signal path.

        I'll run them on the final DSP before an amp, but that's for protection purposes, not artistic ones - and doesn't apply when creating a studio master.

        Using side chain compression of, say, the bass guitar keyed from the kick is a fairly common way to reduce the conflict between low end sources in a mix, but it doesn't do so by ignoring the available bit depth of a CD.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

      4. Androgynous Cow Herd

        Re: I am obviously a horrible person and possibly racist...

        Re-reading my post, you're making an awful lot of assumptions about the state of these recordings after mixing and what had to happen in mastering. If a final mix is clipping anywhere when it hits mastering - it wasn't set up right for mastering and would get thrown back. If a mastered recording is clipping anywhere - It wasn't mastered correctly (that is, to the published standards) or (more likely) the properly mixed recording is hitting the front end of your playback system too hot and overpowering the pre-amp.

        The drum effect you are talking about is called 'side chaining' and is not a mastering step - it happens in the mix, and can sound like ass if not done well, but is smooth like butter when done properly.

        "Turn off your compressors and limiters" is a pretty naive statement. Mastering is a technical process much more than an artistic one. There are well understood values for LUFS and peakDB values to ensure best possible playback on consumer devices and streaming services. . In fact, most engineers do it through a completely several set of monitors different from than what was used for mixing - "reference standard crappy speakers" to simulate most consumer quality gear. I personally master on a set of powered 6" monitors, then check it back through JBL 4310s. Once it it sounding good on the small monitors it usually sounds amazing on the big ones.

        Compression is part of the signal chain for all broadcast, and all streaming services. It's not a bad thing at all or some kind of sonic sin.

        1. cyberdemon
          Devil

          Re: I am obviously a horrible person and possibly racist...

          Yes, it's a sonic sin.

          If only audio files were distributed as the raw microphone inputs along with a DSP settings file so that all mixing and signal processing could be done (and reconfigured) at the listener's end.

          Even mobile phones are powerful enough to do the required mixing and DSP in real time.

          I sometimes wish that on TV, background noise tracks could be broadcast separately from dialogue, for example.

          Yes I know that no recording ever clips, but in the old days, this was done by someone looking at a VU meter, asking the guitarist to twang really loudly, and then adjusting the gain so that it doesn't go too far into the red. The gain knob is then left in the same place for the duration of the performance/recording. There is no automatic adjustment of that gain knob in real time by some software to try to make the whole track sound as loud as possible.

          That's what I meant by 'recordings should obey the superposition principle'. Your mixer should produce a linear sum of all the input channels, at different (but time-invariant) amplifications. That way it can be decomposed into its original sources, by my ears. If the different channels keep changing their volume based on what else is going on, I find something else to listen to because I find that nauseating.

          Shove that up your side-chain and smoke it.

          1. cyberdemon
  9. Barry Rueger

    Prediction

    Five years from now the changes will have happened, it will have turned out to be No Big Deal, 99% of people will have moved on to more important things, and forum posters will still be raging about it. At least when they're not raging about SystemD.

    1. Nunyabiznes Silver badge

      Re: Prediction

      Kind of like Y2K was no big deal because a lot of people did a lot of work to make it "no big deal"? At least Y2K was necessary work - this is just make work to get triggered (oh no, is that a bad word now too because it denotes firearms?!?) people to move onto the next made-up issue.

    2. FeepingCreature

      Re: Prediction

      Just because we've settled for something doesn't mean it's good.

      Five years from now nobody will care about this. This is not to say anything about the merit of this change, merely that the frontier will probably have moved.

  10. Captain Hogwash

    I'll just leave this here

    “It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.”

    ― George Orwell, 1984

    1. evilcRaftKnife

      Re: I'll just leave this here

      The loonies will be tearing down statues next!

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: I'll just leave this here

        Yes, how dare Oxford have that statue of the evil Rhodes, who made his money out of colonialism. Tear it down.

        Wait, give back his money and ask the the Rhodes scholars to leave? Now, let's not be hasty here.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I'll just leave this here

          And stop issuing Master's degress while they're at it! An Oxford MA isn't a real degree anyway!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'll just leave this here

        If you can't see the difference in the celebration of someone who actually bought and sold slaves, and the removal of words which can happen to describe such events in other non-contextual circumstances, then you are part of the problem.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: I'll just leave this here

          The difference in the southern USA isn't that there are statues of people who did bad things by the morals of today. It isn't a question of Guardian pulling down statues of Ghandi or Simon De'Montfort because they didn't support #metoo.

          In these southern cities these statues were deliberately put up to mark neighborhoods as white. They are the equivalent of a ring of burning crosses not a question of renaming Waterloo station because it is offensive to Napoleoists

          n

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I'll just leave this here

            I know most of the US statues were deliberately put up that way. It makes the case stronger there, yes, but it doesn't weaken our case.

            A statue of a person is there to celebrate that person. A place name doesn't compare with a statue.

            The OP I replied to was making a snark about statue removal.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I'll just leave this here

            Actually, the name of "Waterloo" station is quite offensive to the French, and they weren't happy that the temporary terminus for trains from France temporarily terminated there.

            Temporarily, from 1994 to 2007. Note that it wasn't renamed.

            If the intention in southern cities was to stick up statues to mark neighboorhoods as white then it has since failed, and a plaque with it's history is a fitting way to deal with the issues rather than a mob of white students who don't live there coming and tearing it down, and then firebombing the local shops for the lolz.

            1. Kubla Cant Silver badge
              WTF?

              Re: I'll just leave this here

              Actually, the name of "Waterloo" station is quite offensive to the French

              But nobody could possibly be offended by Gare d'Austerlitz.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: I'll just leave this here

                Which was originally named the Gare d'Orléans.

                Ah, the cultural sensitivity of the soon-to-be-invaded-by-Germany French.

        2. Kabukiwookie Silver badge

          Re: I'll just leave this here

          As long as the statues are displayed with the proper context, I see no problem.

          Taking away a statue does not take away the historical event. Instead it hides it for next generations.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I'll just leave this here

            A statue is designed to celebrate someone. Period.

            Replace it with a plaque describing what the person did, and keep teaching the history without celebrating it.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I'll just leave this here

              A statue is designed to celebrate someone. Period.

              Commemorate, not necessarily celebrate.

          2. Smooth Newt Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: I'll just leave this here

            As long as the statues are displayed with the proper context, I see no problem.

            Taking away a statue does not take away the historical event. Instead it hides it for next generations.

            I was going to comment on the renaming of Adolf Hitler Platz in Berlin, but then I remembered there aren't any statues left of him, so none of you will know who I'm talking about.

            1. Kabukiwookie Silver badge

              Re: I'll just leave this here

              The way Germany is suppressing any references to him, including banning books, it could well be that nobody will know in the next 3 or 4 generations.

              At best he will be reduced to a faceless bogeyman and nobody will remember what happened exactly in the run-up to ww2 (or how to prevent a similar thing from happening agaim).

              The only way to prevent something similar from happening is to push it out in the daylight and discuss what happened and why.

              Spoke with dutch friends the other day (in their 50s) ; they're celebrating liberation day every year, but have no clue of how WW2 could have happened. Not an inkling of how to spot signs/behaviour that can lead to something similar happening again.

              Evil things need to be put out in the open, so people remember not do these things again.

              Does it make you uncomfortable to discuss atrocities? Good!

              That's the first step in ensuring they don't happen again.

        3. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: I'll just leave this here

          "If you can't see the difference in the celebration of someone who actually bought and sold slaves"

          He was an imperialist, not a slaver. It's kind of difficult, being born in 1853.

  11. Peter X
    WTF?

    "dummy value"

    It was mentioned a few comments back, but ... and I apologise in advance if I am inadvertently insulting or causing distress to anyone... but what is wrong with "dummy value"?

    1. Androgynous Cow Herd

      Re: "dummy value"

      Discriminatory toward Trump supportters.

  12. alain williams Silver badge

    Do non African slaves not matter ?

    The email includes:

    The African slave trade was a brutal system of human misery deployed at global scale.

    So: do slaves (past or present) from other places not matter ?

    OK: I understand why Dan wrote that - he is reacting to the current brouhaha - but it is easy to lose sight of the bigger picture when under pressure from on group.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Do non African slaves not matter ?

      Yes, this is another show of ignorance, and another example of a chauvinistic US-centric approach. Slavery haunted mankind (sorry for the man?) for most of its existence. Actually, understanding its horror is a very late discovery.

      I'm sure many of my ancestors were or slaver owners or slaves. Greek and Egyptians had slaves, Romans enslaved most people they conquered. Muslims set up a huge slave trade with the help of many others, and kept lots of slaves for themselves. Serfdom was a kinf of slavery. I may understand that in the "Land of Freedom" slavery abolished very late, so it's still a much more open wound then elsewhere, but reducing slavery to just the US one just shows ignorance.

      And remember, many forms of slavery are still alive in many places. Just try to travel not like a wealthy Western tourist only, maybe looking for someone far less fortunate to exploit. Changing words won't fight that. But it's far easier to pretend to fight writing words, then renounces to live comfortably and letting someone else far away to keep on exploiting people for your comfort.

    2. Claptrap314 Silver badge

      Re: Do non African slaves not matter ?

      No--this is deliberate. This rhetoric is entirely about trying to make Caucasians bear guilt for something some of the ancestors of some of them did generations ago while deliberately ignoring the exact same behavior by non-Caucasians today.

      If you doubt me, jump on the LKML & ask why there is no mention of current slavery in Africa. See the response you get.

      1. cyberdemon
        Devil

        Re: Do non African slaves not matter ?

        @claptrapp314 I'm not sure who you are implying is acting deliberately there..

        But TBH, I think this sort of thing is something that only the Gooogles, Amazons, Microsofts and Apples of this world have the ability to implement efficiently (after all, most of their code is closed source anyway, and snap decisions can always be made by diktat). While it severely hurts open source having this sort of moral panic in public, causing a schism amongst their developers, over something that no-one really cares about.

        And guess who are most in favour? Oh, the big corporates. Makes their CSR look so wonderful, and scatters those pesky penguins.

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: Do non African slaves not matter ?

        "If you doubt me, jump on the LKML & ask why there is no mention of current slavery in Africa."

        Whatever you do, don't ask who the Europeans bought the slaves from in the first place, how they had become slaves, and how long the evil practice had been happening before the Portuguese stumbled onto it and figured out how to make a quick buckreal.

        The only reason those particular aspects of the vile Atlantic Slave Trade are conveniently glossed over is in order to make rich, fat, white Americans feel guilty over something they have never participated in, and in fact think is an abhorrent practice.

    3. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Do non African slaves not matter ?

      It's significant that the people who gathered slaves for sale in the Triangular Trade were black, and they used their tainted money to buy things (including arms) from Europe.

      Yet this is hardly ever mentioned!

      Does this mean that selling a slave is acceptable but buying a slave is not?

  13. Kabukiwookie Silver badge

    Newspeak

    The limitations of Newspeak's vocabulary enabled the Party to effectively control the population's minds, by allowing the user only a very narrow range of spoken and written thought

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newspeak

    1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: Newspeak

      "Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent." Wittgenstein

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Newspeak

        That is not what Wittgenstein was writing about. I also question the use of "cannot". Languages other than English often have two different words which in English are combined into "can":

        "I cannot swim" - I have not learned to swim.

        "You cannot swim" - swimming is forbidden.

        What Wittgenstein wrote could be more accurately translated as "One has to pass over things which do not lend themselves to expression in words" - in other words, philosophers shouldn't waste their time and that of their readers trying to explain what we feel when we see, for instance, a sunset."

  14. LDS Silver badge

    "freedom is slavery"

    "ignorance is strength"

    Orwell predicted it all. We're already seeing the "two minute hate" around the world - now.

    1. Mike Moyle Silver badge

      Re: "freedom is slavery"

      "freedom is slavery"

      "ignorance is strength"

      Throw in a couple of "bigly"s and you've written a Trump speech. Congratulations, I suppose"

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    scaling

    > Williams stated: "Of course it is around this point someone jumps in with an etymological argument about why people should not be offended. Etymological arguments do not scale. The scope and pace of Linux to reach new developers exceeds the ability of historical terminology defenders to describe 'no, not that connotation'."

    Except he's got it completely backwards. Etymological arguments absolutely scale, because anyone can go and read a dictionary on their own, and learn for themselves the alternative interpretations of words that bother them.

    What doesn't scale is attempting to not offend anybody, since offence is entirely subjective, and anyone can be offended by anything at any time. So unless you remove every term every time someone claims it is offensive, you would need a person or group in charge of deciding who it's "okay" to offend, and who it isn't; which is a concept I find offensive.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: scaling

      Indeed.

      "Why did the elephant paint his feet yellow?"

      "So he could hide upside down in a bowl of custard."

      THAT'S OFFENSIVE. MY HUSBAND, WHO WORKED IN THE FOOD INDUSTRY DROWNED IN A VAT OF CUSTARD AT WORK JUST LAST WEAK YOU INSENSITIVE CLOD

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: scaling

      Dude, or dudette, you should have posted that bit of common under your actual handle, not as an AC.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: scaling

        ... or non-binary human being please!

        (Not your downvoter)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: scaling

        > you should have posted that bit of common under your actual handle, not as an AC.

        Given that this forum does not support private messages: Why?

        1. jake Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: scaling

          Sorry. Typo (cat sat on the backspace key or brain-fart, you decide). What I meant was "that bit of common sense". Sorry. Mea culpa. Have a homebrew?

    3. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: scaling

      "Etymological arguments do not scale."

      Yes, I too was wondering what on earth this meant as a sentence. It's rather like saying 'scientific arguments do not scale'. As it's easier for ignorant fools to spread nonsense than people who actually know what happens to explain it properly.

    4. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: scaling

      It's a deeply depressing argument to say "etymology doesn't scale". It amounts to saying "the truth doesn't scale". While there is some evidence of that. It doesn't mean we give up on the truth.

      And I find it even more damning in an argument turning on historical abuses to be told that the history of the words themselves is irrelevant.

    5. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: scaling

      Perversely, arguing that we should avoid terms like master-slave because of the origins of the expression *is* just an etymological argument.

      Does it scale? Well apparently not if the list of exceptions and their justifications are anything to go by.

  16. Nunyabiznes Silver badge

    Something learned in pre-school

    Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Nunyabiznes - Re: Something learned in pre-school

      In my tradition there's a word that in approximate translation says something like "your tongue doesn't have any bones but can get some of your bones to be crushed".

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Something learned in pre-school

      Words can put you in a cage forever.

      Words can force you to go out in a field and attempt to kill others, lest you be killed.

      Words caused millions of Jews, gypsies and others to be marked as "undesirable", loaded onto cattle trucks and murdered by the trainload.

      Words have serious power.

  17. Giles C Bronze badge

    No matter what words you use will be offensive to someone somewhere.

    Therefore we should get the sha256 value of different sizes of the register logo file, and use blocks of 8 characters to form the function names.

    Stuff readability or even getting programs to work....

    Mind you someone would find an objection to 4cf67y62

    How long before someone objects to Cisco config which uses NO in front of virtually every command to negate the effect.

    I,e. Shut, no shut

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > Mind you someone would find an objection to 4cf67y62

      Do you have to bring up so casually the shooting in year 1962, where 67 females in highschool class 4C were killed?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "the African slave trade was a brutal system of human misery deployed at global scale,"

    Don't you mean the "s-word" trade?

    Though as "slave" can be perfectly innocent without being followed by "trade", shouldn't that be the "s-word t-word"?

    Changing words because they can be used in a negative context is not only pointless virtue-signalling, but has a negative effect on the situation it claims to appease, by detracting from the real issue, wallpapering over the mess, and making those actually affected look weak and pathetic."

    "Sanity check?" - As someone with serious mental problems, I'm insulted that this is now supposedly a taboo phrase, to "protect" me, whilst actually now more likely to remind me of stuff when I'm just trying to hack code.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Any word might offend almost anyone.....so......

    .....I've written some simple parsing code which scans through source code and replaces every word (except reserved words in a language) with a random string.

    *

    char szName[16]; --> char fVdsA98FGH[16];

    char* pszName; --> char *jMetqvLO;

    int nSizeOfArray; --> int wQAdvxszXX;

    *

    This approach makes little difference to my Python3 code. But it does mean recompiling all the C.

    *

    And -- although NO ONE WILL GET OFFENDED anymore, I guess maintenance will be more of a challenge.

    *

    Win some, lose some!

    1. Precordial thump

      Re: Any word might offend almost anyone.....so......

      Your gratuitous and repeated use of "char" is triggering the memory of all my Wiccan ancestors so callously burned at the stake by religiose imperialists and male chauvinists, you insensitive <del>bastard</del>love child.

  20. Long John Silver
    Pirate

    Dimwitted conformity

    'Idiocy' says it all. No need to elaborate.

  21. cornetman Silver badge

    > In the light of the 2020 "global reckoning on race relations" the Linux kernel developers have stepped up with proposed new inclusive terminology guidelines for their coding community.

    Let me guess: they are all white.

    If we asked visible minorities what *they* thought, I wonder how many of them would be annoyed at how their struggle is being trivialised by these kinds of measures.

  22. jake Silver badge

    Cats.

    Do we ban all black cats, because of the evilness they traditionally portray?

    Or do we mandate that all cats be black, because black awareness?

    Personally, I think all cats are beautiful regardless of colo(u)r, and thus I treat them all equally. Strangely enough, they all treat each other equally, too ... but they treat most humans with utter disdain.

    We can learn a lot from cats.

    1. Giles C Bronze badge

      Re: Cats.

      I have a black cat, so black they only bits that aren’t are his eyes and bum. Everything else is black, although his coat is fading a bit in the sun and going sort of rust coloured.

      Only problem is at night trying to find him, and not tread on him when getting out of bed...

    2. SloppyJesse

      Re: Cats.

      > Do we ban all black cats?

      You can try, but they won't listen. They are the masters of us all. We are merely convenient food givers.

      Besides, black cat == good luck. Disproving earlier commentards assertion that black == bad

  23. osakajin Bronze badge

    And my master's degree?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Euphemisms are even more insulting

    Like, "I know this is supposed to offend you so I am going to recognise the intent to offend by hiding it behind a veil so you fscking know I did that."

    What color is the sky at night? "Bl... oops, err - Pitch deny."

    "What are we going to do about the white sla... fsck I mean subordinate trade?"

    FFS! That's the kind of bullshit logic that gets you into evangelizing SystemD, ain't it th' truth, GREG KROAH-HARTPERSON?

    1. RM Myers Bronze badge
      Coat

      "FFS! That's the kind of bullshit logic .."

      What a sexist comment to make on an article based on inclusive terminology! In the future, please refer to bovine shit logic.

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: "FFS! That's the kind of bullshit logic .."

        Now you are insulting to bovines, please refer to it as rose fertilizer.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "FFS! That's the kind of bullshit logic .."

        Male bovine excrememt, please!

        Oh shit, male . . .

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are you sh*tting me?...

    As they would say on the 18 bus in San Francisco..

    Let me guess, none of these white idiots when in San Francesco have spent much time on the MUNI 18, 10 or 22 bus lines. If they had they would have heard a very wide range of very colorful "ethnic" language spoken by the few remains blacks in San Francisco. Now the only thing these black guys on the buses hate more than the thugs from across the Bay in Oak'town is some rich white crackers parading their Liberal White Guilt by making utterly fatuous gestures. Which this most certainly is.

    Sorry guys, but in software architecture there are master and slave processes, etc, etc. and that's just they way it is. No matter how much you guys virtue signal.

    Me? I am just the guy on the 9 bus who makes sure the sick old black guy who lives in shelter who all the hipsters and dot commers are trying to ignore makes it to SF General to get treatment. Definitely not some narcissistic little prima-donnas who live in a sanitized bubble world with their heads stuck up their ars*s.

  26. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Blacklist?

    I'm not totally convinced that every reference to the word 'black' is a deliberate reference to slavery, or supposed racial differences.

    For instance, blacklist: first use of black list (according to Wiki) dates to a play in 1639, and refers to the list of regicides compiled for Charles II.

    Blackball? Original Greek voting system. You put the white ball in the urn to say yes, black to say no.

    Black bottom dance? Named after a predominantly black community in Detroit, but although the name "Black Bottom" is often erroneously believed to be a reference to the African-American community that developed in the twentieth century, the neighbourhood was actually named by early French colonial settlers for the dark, fertile topsoil found in the area (known as river bottomlands)

    Black body radiation?

    1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: Blacklist?

      Charles II's blacklist was probably so-called because of the long association of black with death and mourning, which seems to date back to ancient Rome, where a dark-coloured toga pulla was worn.

      Not sure about the Greek voting system, though. I thought they used potsherds. The use of white and black balls in elections dates from the 18th century.

  27. rcxb Silver badge

    A modest proposal

    Instead of using non-inclusive binary words like he/she, all kernel developers shall be referred to as "that rat bastard".

    Instead of offensive terms like Master/Slave, such devices will now be named Grand Wizard and Clansman.

    And more importantly:

    A 2014 article in the Journal of Consumer Research titled "The Nature of Slacktivism: How the Social Observability of an Initial Act of Token Support Affects Subsequent Prosocial Action" found that such acts tend to satisfy a person's desire to help, and that those people are then far less likely to take more effective action than are people who avoided taking token actions.

    https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4665

  28. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    i demand

    the bible is expunged of all the times the word 'Slave' is used in there, indeed in several places it seems to say that slavery is natural for some people ...

    <<<wondering whether to change the signs on the robots to "idiot in charge" and "dumb moron blindly following orders".......

    Woohoo I achieved something for race relations... now I can go home and do f*** all about any of the real problems...

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pull request denied

    I hope Linus has a good old sweary rant and puts a stop to this idiocy.

    1. Sitaram Chamarty

      Re: Pull request denied

      unlikely; or at least I have given up hope.

      Ironically, considering the title of this article, he actually once said "people who are easily offended, should be offended".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pull request denied

      Nope, the old Linus is gone. Some say it's the influence of his daughter, one of those fighting feminists in the tech field. Interviews with her can be found online.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        re: some blame his daughter

        but most of us think he's just grown up.

  30. JavaJester

    Dummy Value and Sanity Check are on the naughty list?

    Where will it end? Will we require a new kind of IDE plug in, kind of like a spell checker but searches for naughty words / phrases and suggests alternatives? Will it need have its naughty word database hosted as a service so it can keep up with the flood of new verboten words that High Priests (oops, I didn't use a gender neutral word), er I mean High Clergy Members of the Offended deem unfit?

    Does anyone really think that "dummy value" or "sanity check" is casting aspersions on anyone intelligence or sanity? Is it really necessary to infantilize the language to this extent? As the article points out, the further we go into this Rabbit hole the more the effect will be to discriminate against non English speakers.

  31. Alister Silver badge

    I'm curious as to why all this hand waving is only aimed at the English language?

    Are we going to ban the Spanish from ever using their word for the colour black in any context?

    1. jake Silver badge

      No. It's far simpler than that. We're going to ban software from ever being written in any language that mandates grammatical gender.

      That'll show the sexist bastards!

  32. fwadman

    Completely missing the point

    You know what's good about a massive project run over the internet? No-one has a clue what colour most of the contributors are. No one sees them in real life, a few (men) I know actually use female names in there online aliases. You are judged by your code and not by your speech issues, lack of personal hygiene, bad teeth, dodgy hair cut, spotty skin, too short, too fat, too week. I find online coding communities the most unbiased and open places (until you start talking about code :) )

    And they want to ruin this with politics????

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Completely missing the point

      Yep. It's a meritocracy. All that matters is coding ability ... at least for the vast majority of us.

      Unfortunately, a very small minority of people seem to think that that's unnatural, and are trying to throw a wrench into the works. Why, I am not sure. If I were paranoid, I'd suspect Big Business.

    2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: Completely missing the point

      @fwadman How dare you suggest that the members of online coding communities may lack personal hygiene, have bad teeth, dodgy haircuts and spotty skin, or be too short, too fat, too weak?

  33. kloczek the iOS6 user

    That should be something to do for GNU translation project

    What about translate plain English to leftist language or Politically Correct language?

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: That should be something to do for GNU translation project

      Just translate it to NewSpeak.

  34. ThirteenthLetter

    Language policing has two great benefits

    1. It's an easy way for sociopaths with no useful skills to farm clout.

    2. It will not solve any of the problems it claims to address, so next year when it turns out racism and poverty still exist the sociopaths can simply ban another tranche of words.

  35. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    I'm offended that functions have arguments! They should all just get along together.

  36. Muhwyndham

    This night be just me but...

    I find as a Non-Native English speaker (I am from Indonesia, a technically third world country), this movement is at best just covering the wound, or at worst being racist in itself.

    Because as I find, most of the Argument about the 'properness' is based on English speaking country's value, and in itself doesn't considering the other side of things, like, every other country's value. You might find "MASTER" and "SLAVE" improper because African slave exist, but then how about BlockList changed to something like.. I don't know, DenyList? Exception? Because for example here in Indonesia, Blocking someone outright is better than... Denying (if we translate it into our local language by dictionary). Our social value see Denying someone, putting someone on Exception is more.. Shameful, rather than knowing for a fact that we're Blocked. You see what I get here?

    And not to mention that changing terms after the fact is actually more discouraging for people that doesn't speak English as their native. It is not a problem for me, but I do have some friends that gives up from programming simply because they couldn't understand the nuance in English. It would get worse if what supposedly defualt things just suddenly change for no reason. We as non native couldn't give a thing about properness in English when even speaking (and writing) is already pretty hard.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: This night be just me but...

      The more I think about it, the more this reason alone is more than enough to put this whole bit of nonsense in our collective rear-view mirror.

      The fact of the matter is that, like it or not, the American dialect of English is the defacto lingua franca of most of the collaborative coding projects in the online world. Deciding to capriciously change even a small percentage of the words already in the common vernacular will decidedly detriment coders for whom English is a second language. For this reason alone, the very concept should be filed in a drawer marked "thought about it, decided it was unworkable on a global scale".

      Thanks for helping to clarify my thoughts on this aspect of the subject, Muhwyndham. Have a cold one of whatever you like on me ... and please stick around. The more non-North American/European views on various subjects we can get, the better off we'll all be.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This night be just me but...

        Another non-English native reader here. Terms master/slave (and others) have been used verbatim in translated books for ages, no confusion what they mean and what their use cases are. I can only imagine that confusion now, when someone with an older book (and knowledge) encounters their "inclusive" replacements.

        1. Solviva

          Re: This night be just me but...

          Weren't Grumio and Clemens white slaves with white masters long before white folks plundered the African continent for their people?

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: This night be just me but...

            White folks didn't do the plundering, at least not for the most part. That evil little detail was handled by black folks, who knew the territory. The white folks purchased the plunder for resale across the pond.

            History is ugly enough without reinventing it.

            Speaking of which, Grumio and Clemens were works of fiction.

  37. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    They can ...

    ... pry the man pages out of my cold, dead fingers.

  38. KorndogDev
    Unhappy

    SAD state of affairs - watch Linus's take on this, just a few years ago...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZ017D_JOPY

  39. autisticatheist
    Flame

    Newspeak

    I'm a bit sick of virtue-signalling newspeak wankery.

    Will my MasterCard be cancelled?

    Will all car slave cylinders be removed?

    Is my Masters degree now invalid?

    Can I still order black coffee (or white coffee for that matter)?

    Will master craftsmen (and women) be out of a job?

    Will I be punished if I call a power cut a blackout?

    Can department stores still sell white goods?

    Do I have to remove the master and slave disks from my computer?

    Will Grace Jones stop receiving royalties for "Slave to the Rhythm"?

    And what about the Bryan Ferry classic "Slave to Love"?

    Will James Spader have to remove The Blacklist from his CV?

    Will Disney have to delete the master (sic) tapes of Snow White?

    And we'd better expunge Star Wars and its Jedi Masters from history.

    1984 was supposed to be fiction, not an instruction manual.

    1. KorndogDev

      Re: Newspeak

      This shit got to the mainstream, it will never end now:

      https://edition.cnn.com/2020/07/06/us/racism-words-phrases-slavery-trnd/index.html

  40. ComputerSays_noAbsolutelyNo

    Words are not racist, people are

    Are words inherently bad? No.

    While it is virtually always wrong for white people to use the n-word, nobody calls black rappers racists when they use it in their lyrics. Context matters!

    Is the word master bad? No, it has a wide range of meanings and it is very much used in daily speech. "John is an excellent programmer, he's a master of his field." - a perfectly fine sentence.

    Could we come up with something other than master/slave? Yes.

    Some more tangents on the perceived badness of the word master. While slaver holders were referred to as masters, so were expert craftsmen. While it is statistically certain that some slave-holders in history were named John, the name John is not frowned upon.

    BLM protests the real-world injustice against black people. Most words which some people want to be cleansed from the code-based of the world are about perceived discrimination.

  41. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Reality Check

    Perhaps these do-gooders might like to think about the very real situation of the considerable amount of modern slavery. It's not called that though. One of the 'popular' forms is Zero Hours contracts - popular with the slave masters, that is. The victims don't have any choice.

  42. You aint sin me, roit Silver badge
    Trollface

    It's about ideas, not words

    I find it abhorrent that one processor is subordinate, constrained to do exactly as it's told by another. Where's the equality in that? Where's the freedom to be what you want and do as you will?

    Sounds suspiciously like slavery to me... "Yes master, I'll fetch the data for you". Subordinate processors unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains.

    "Get it yourself, you aren't the boss of me!"

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Also for the chop ?

    Master Chef

    Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

    Master Carpenter

    Master Bates

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      "Also for the chop ?

      Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World"

      At least some good will come of this then.

    2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

      A very good film, but a title so stupid that it can only have been invented by somebody who couldn't be bothered to read the books.

      "Master and Commander" isn't a prolix way of describing the man in charge, it was a junior rank for captains of relatively small warships. That's what Aubrey was in the first book, set in the Mediterranean. In the second book he is promoted to Post Captain, and that is his rank during the events shown in the film.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm struggling to make sense of much of the above as it's covered in so much fried egg, chips and pineapple rings.

    Bantz, gammons! It's just bantz... mebe drop another ramipril so you don't pop....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Can someone please translate this baby talk gibberish so an adult may understand it ?

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

        Translation|:

        "Whaaa. You just popped my artificial reality bubble"

  45. conel

    Etymology of Slave

    Slavs were so commonly enslaved in the middle ages that's where the word comes from. Most every people at some stage in history were slaves/ slavers, St. Patrick was a Welsh slave brought to Ireland for example.

    The history of slavery and its abolishment- with the obvious modern exceptions - is nearly the opposite of what the woke crowd are trying to intimidate people into believing.

  46. Electronics'R'Us Silver badge
    Holmes

    Some more interesting possibilities

    Many terms used in electronics (particularly interface protocols) and software have a very specific meaning.

    Before I get to that, it is interesting that over 20 years ago on Irix 5.3 (IIRC) we had hosts.allow and hosts.deny.

    Master slave interfaces (such as SPI) have been around for decades and the term is accurate (which engineers tend to approve of as the meaning is quite clear). This is also used for internal clocks which must be synchronised and phase locked (perhaps at different frequencies) among many other things. In SPI, the I/O is actually named MOSI and MISO (Master Out Slave In, Master In Slave Out) in every such controller datasheet and reference manual I can recall over the last few decades

    Some other terms that might make heads explode:

    Multi-master Bus - commonly used in PCI as an example (where multiple devices can be the master at different times).

    Race condition - a specific issue in combinational logic where signals are changing at the input of a gate at the same time so for a short period of time the output is unknown but this can also occur in multi-threaded software.

    We could use so many more here: DMA - Are you peering into my mind for control? Eek.

    Peripherals - they are no longer at the centre of things!

    Let's not forget the JBOD - they are being marginalised! (I note there is also the MAID acronym - not hard to see how that might get the ultra PC crowd fuming).

    Madness. In the context in which these terms are used, the meanings are well known and have specific meanings. There are producer - consumer architectures; I bet someone could get annoyed at that although it is an accurately descriptive name.

    Many of the posts I see online are from the 'professionally annoyed' (they appear to try and find things to be upset and annoyed about).

    What would they think of a declaration I once used many years ago (it was completely accurate too):

    short volatile boss;

    Vertically challenged, not short!

    1. JavaJester

      Re: Some more interesting possibilities

      Another one: the red-black tree index is in danger of causing heads to explode. Because we know that certain colours must always be racially insensitive terms in 2020.

  47. tfb Silver badge
    Boffin

    The single best argument I have seen that doing this matters

    There are 236 comments here as I write this. If it did not matter why have so many people spent so much effort arguing about it?

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: The single best argument I have seen that doing this matters

      Actually, the opposite...

      Remember the ignorant nutters (yes that includes Dan Williams, Chris Mason, Greg Kroah-Hartman and any others who support this stupidity), are trying to say that the word "Slave" only refers to the trans-Atlantic trade of circa 200 years ago. Ie. there was a trade in conscripted labour between Africa and the America's which someone decided needed a nice punchy marketing label, so had the brillant idea to call it "The Slave Trade(tm)". Whereas as we know the fact of the matter is that the word "slave" generically refers to a particular relationship state - of which the events of circa 200 years ago are just one of many examples..

    2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      IT Angle

      Re: The single best argument I have seen that doing this matters

      Because it is virtue signalling of the greatest degree.

      To say "here I've done something by removing a word" whereas a friend in Louisiana says "The damn important thing is that we get rid of the bad cops, and retrain the rest not to kill people at the slightest inkling of not complying"

      Remember that guy swatted a few years ago.... police do a no knock warrent, guy is in his hallway being shouted at by the police, goes to pull his trousers up, gets shot dead by the cops.

      Or the kid with a toy gun, cops shoot him instantly... or the guy in the car "Hi, yes I have a firearm in the car, its in the glove compar"<BANGBANGBANG>

      But I suppose the virtue signalling is a bit like work.. where the ones good at what they do just keep their heads down and let their work speak for them, and the one crap at their jobs need to shout loudly about how good they are in order play politics to keep their jobs

    3. cornetman Silver badge

      Re: The single best argument I have seen that doing this matters

      > If it did not matter why have so many people spent so much effort arguing about it?

      Just because commenters are saying that this is a pointless effort, it is not zero cost.

      As people have pointed out above and elsewhere:

      - changing well known and understood terms disproportionately affects coders for whom English is not their first language. Tying yourself in knots trying to come up with the least offensive replacement term might not be very effective at conveying the intention. Take the master/slave example. In many (perhaps not all) of the instances of this usage, one master component is in charge and a slave component must do what the master tells it. It's pretty effective at conveying the idea. It only seems to become an issue when you try to apply human morality to lines of code, which is pretty moronic.

      - all changes have the potential to introduce bugs.

      - while not necessarily as relevant in this case, other cases of this sort of thing have the effect of making a large body of documentation and StackOverflow references less clear at best, nonsensical at worst.

      - a commenter above also states that some of the suggested alternative words have worse meanings in other cultural contexts. Subjective judgements about some of the terms that are supposedly "problematic" might well be replaced with words that are offensive or uncomfortable in different regions. This is one of the problems you get when you try to load words used benignly with baggage that have nothing to do with the original intention.

    4. osmarks

      Re: The single best argument I have seen that doing this matters

      This argument might make sense if this sort of thing did not have large-scale costs.

  48. matthewdjb

    If the underlying issues prompting this idea were to be resolved, no one would be calling for this change. Therefore, it seems to me to be clearly necessary.

    Do Baptists get offended when they visit Geneva and see statues of Calvin who used to drown their ilk? No, because the issues behind that are long resolved.

  49. tallship

    Stupid is as stupid does...

    Injecting superfluous content and directives, suggestions, or even well meaning intentions into everyday life to accommodate merely the latest in a long and never ending line of fads is... Yup! Just plain stupid.

    It changes nothing that should be changed and exists solely as a distraction from that which the discussion was actually supposed to be about in the first place lol.

    Did you hear the latest? Taco Bell is now changing their name because it has proven to be offensive to people with vaginas.

    Meanwhile, chokeholds are still legal and all serious legislation to thwart the abuses and crimes against humanity and human kind through the rampant imposition of police brutality upon members of all creeds and cultures has stalled, is largely ignored, and is soon to be forgotten as the agenda of the day - the very topic that has culminated in, as a distraction from the real Injustice, this silly war of semantics now being waged instead...

    This too shall pass, but in the meantime, know that y'all been distracted, redirected, interrupted, from the thing that actually did matter... "COPS KILLING PEOPLE WITH IMPUNITY".

    Stupid is as stupid does people

    Kindest regards,

    - tallship

  50. MOH

    When are we changing traffic lights?

    ... and associated phrases such as "to greenlight something"

    Clearly green indicating safety, something positive, while orange indicates a warning, negative, is offensive to certain section of the community in Northern Ireland.

    Traffic light colours must be replaced with something more inclusive without delay.

  51. Binraider

    Ports & Cables

    So, pray tell how does one politically correctly identify Male and Female ports & cables? Do we have to adopt gender-neutral cables throughout? Do such things exist? (USB-A is close, but not completely neutral).

  52. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Am I still allowed to listen to The Chorus Of The Hebrew Slaves? Am I allowed to watch The Cloak or Ben Hur? Or - whisper it - Spartacus.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't want to offend anyone, as european guy from post communist country I met less than 5 black people in person (I had no opportunity to even speak to them), so I don't see into this in depth, so I am sorry in advance if I offend anyone. I don't have problem with anyone but how you act in US is not understandable to me.

    If someone finds "blacklist" offensive, why should not I find "whitelist" offensive? So much crap happened in this world in the past and it's happening right now too... History shapes our future, some people are still stuck in the past just because they don't have better things to do.

    For example: why don't we just end christianity, they killed so much people in the past in name of god.... oh wait it was solved by public apology (afaik) and now everyone is fine... why we don't change words that came from this background to something else? Why we fight/fought wars over territories so "our" people can live in a given country, our ancestors killed so much people because of that.

    I propose that we change word "soldier" to "serial killer"... it's the same, just instead of ethnicity the difference is in the place where people live and language they speak or religion they have. People are killing people since we started evolving (or adam and eve if you prefer the biblical version).

    As I watch the news about what is happening in the US right now I am mind-blown about stupidity of those people, instead of fighting, protesting, robbing closed stores, changing words like "blacklist" to "blocklist"... you could do something that makes the world better place to live (ex. stopping wars, climate change, water pollution...). How much people got injured during these protests? How much damage it did (injuries, finances, jobs,...)? Isn't the covid enough? Are you really that bored people?

    Just because there are few people with IQ of a rocking horse (who also thinks that covid came from corona beer), killing each other (what is happening all over the world btw. between all ethnic groups) that does not mean that we need to act like stupid kids. Put bad guys in jail and let the good guys do their job and move on...

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Goodbye Mr. Mister

    it was nice knowing you.

  55. osmarks

    I don't think randomly changing words whenever someone is "offended" by them scales very well *either*.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    African slave trade

    "the African slave trade was a brutal system of human misery deployed at global scale,"

    "Was"?

    It continues today.

    Not only that but singling out the African slave trade whitewashes the fact that slavery was practiced by all cultures and all peoples, diminishes the scope of the problem, and allows for those who are ignorant of the truth to use it as a political tool.

    You want to use different language for things? Fine. I find the arguments extremely shallow at best... but fine. But ignoring historical facts to placate political activists? You are part of the problem. They are taking advantage of you.

  57. BPontius

    perspective

    Words only have the power we give them and we are letting them dominate our lives. Get a thesaurus and realize that language is interconnected with meaning, semantics and association. The word black spans many definitions; comedy, mood, mourning, good/evil, prison, disease. The banning of the word slave will have to also include; bondsman, servant, laborer/employee, pensioner, ward of the state, foster child, dependency, satellite, puppet, government, conscript, concubine. As slave is included with subjugation, restraint, subordinate, secondary, junior, lieutenant, grunt, personal assistant...etc, as with other words master, deny and accept it is a deep rabbit hole. This only includes English and since English is made up mostly of French, Spanish, German and Latin the context and association could be different in another language. Since America is a melting pot of languages and cultures, the context goes beyond just English or American culture and history.

  58. Rex Alfie Lee

    BS Out of control

    So the hurtful words are making silicons upset. Thank the heavens we've been saved from our cruelty. Preposterous fapping heard from the stalls...

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