back to article Apple warns developers API tweaks will flow from style guide changes that remove non-inclusive language

Apple has issued a new style guide that deprecates what it calls “non-inclusive language”, and has started to apply it to Xcode, platform APIs, documentation, and open source projects. The changes will have real impact, because Apple has told developers to watch out for API changes resulting from the changes. “Developer APIs …

  1. Joe W Silver badge

    Yeah, that's going to work out alright!

    'Developers in that situation have been told “it’s OK to show a code sample to make it clear what users need to enter, but you should still use alternative terms in the documentation.”'

    So now they actually want the documentation and the code to diverge. I mean sure, that's bound to happen anyway. Still...

    (that said: yeah, the whole issue is a bit over-hyped and over-discussed at the moment, with djihad-like mind sets in both those that force the changes and those who oppose them, but I don't think it is per se a bad idea, just something we need to get used to....)

    Oh, and VI is still the superior editor (to start the next flame war - at least this one is important ;) - ok, maybe I'll accept ED - and the best scientific word processor is exp.)

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Yeah, that's going to work out alright!

      $ VI

      bash: VI: command not found

      $ ED

      bash: ED: command not found


      1. Mike 16 Silver badge

        Re: Yeah, that's going to work out alright!

        If you are using an uppercase-only tty, and an appropriate getty, and gettytab (or wherever the option is hidden these days, on your system) it just might.

        Or, you could follow Curious Marc's path:

        (discussion of UC/lc starts at about 7:00)

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Yeah, that's going to work out alright!

          "If you are using an uppercase-only tty"

          If indeed. There's always one, isn't there? Shall we explore this?

          I have a couple uppercase only terminals, and I'm absolutely certain a few other ElReg readers do as well. A few more of us probably know where to quickly get their hands on one (or several), if needs be. And quite a few more of our friendly neighborhood commentards undoubtedly have seen one in a museum or other collection fairly recently, and actually knew what it was and when and where it was used.

          But let's be perfectly honest here. How many of us would you expect to have one of them hooked up to a machine that runs a modern, nominally case-sensitive OS here in this modern era? What would be the point? I hooked one of mine up to a Slackware box probably twenty years ago, but the novelty wore off pretty quickly. Today, my ancient terminals are only hooked up to ancient machines that expect them. None of them have enough RAM (core) to run vi ...

          Don't get me wrong. I have some very old hardware hooked up and running under Slackware and BSD. But it's all functional. It has a purpose. For example, my ComDesign StatMuxes from the mid 1980s, a nice friendly late '70s Daisy Wheel printer, and my decidedly menacing (to some) IBM 1403 from the early '60s ... But an uppercase only terminal? Nah.

    2. Ian Joyner Bronze badge

      Re: Yeah, that's going to work out alright!

      Vi – an outdated text editor. Some programmers can never get away from such primitive tools.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Yeah, that's going to work out alright!

        One Ian Joyner opines: "Vi – an outdated text editor. Some programmers can never get away from such primitive tools."

        That must be why only primitive OSes, such as MacOS 10.15.6 (released last week), ship with one version of vi or another.

      2. Dr_N Silver badge

        Re: Yeah, that's going to work out alright!

        Ian Joyner> Vi – an outdated text editor. Some programmers can never get away from such primitive tools.

        I'm not a "programmer" and I use it daily. It is the only editor you're sure to find installed on any system you log onto as a field engineer. Hoping your favourite "feature rich" editor will be available is just foolishness.

        Pitchfork at the ready. Icon burning nicely.

  2. Khaptain Silver badge

    Black or black

    In my mind the notion of black being a negative stems from a very basic principal, that of "Day + Night".. As human beings we fear the night as it is the moment in which we are most vulnerable due to the fact that we partially lose our most prominent sense, that of sight.

    1. scrubber
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Black or black

      But it's not pejorative - when Johnny Walker whiskey is Black label, or AMG has a Black series edition, or bands have their Black albums, gaming chairs, CPU coolers, folding bicycles etc. etc. these are seen as the best, coolest, highest quality versions of regular products.

      Or even helicopters...

    2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: Black or black

      "Polite" language for "race" has changed several times, so don't bet against another change to the polite way to say "Black (meaning race)", in American or British style. My impression is that at one time, long long ago, the thoughtful courteous usage was to use the word that begins n and ends o (and is just Spanish for "black" anyway IIRC?) with a capital letter. Today that's a definite No.

      Things need to change in our communal society, and the punctuation wasn't top of my list, but if it helps or just shows that you're willing, then let's.

      1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        Re: BAME or..?

        Late news - BAME is out! At least for Black creative networkers... and according to the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry.

        Where things are a bit quiet otherwise just now.

    3. HildyJ Silver badge

      Re: Black or black


      A similar argument could be made for Master (e.g. Master of Arts, master of a craft).

      But when used as part of a pair and contrasted with white it becomes problematic, just as master and slave. One wishes that the original naming, if it had to be colors, had been green and red so we didn't have to have this particular controversy.

      P.S. Let me propose again that master/slave be replaced by dictator/minion.

      1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: Black or black

        P.S. Let me propose again that master/slave be replaced by dictator/minion.

        Or my suggested alternative, "seme/uke".

      2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

        Re: master/slave

        Who knows they might flip flop over some of these choices in the long run.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Black or black

        And similar arguments can be made by any pratt with too much spare time on their hands and determined to twist a statement into something they can pretend to be offended by.

        Society is doomed, morons are being empowered to rewrite history and generation z are supporting them - because they're so naive they don't think about the reperccussions...

    4. JohnGrantNineTiles

      Re: Black or black

      To an accountant, black is positive. Red is negative.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Git is a perjorarive term used for older people. Which is far worse than a term that someone may misunderstand and take offence at- it's a term intended to be offensive.

    Git should be renamed immediately.

    1. jake Silver badge

      The term git is ageist? News to me. Cite?

      Besides, Linus says he's an an egotistical bastard and names all his projects after himself ... To the inventor go the naming rights. (Yes, I know who the name really refers to.)

      1. You aint sin me, roit Silver badge

        Old git

        Not necessarily ageist, but often prefixed with "old". And usually applied to men, so possibly sexist.

        Definitely unparliamentary language so not really appropriate for polite society. Not the kind of language one would use in front of a lady...

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Old git

          Back when I was learning proper British English as a Californian transplanted into Yorkshire in the 1970s, the prefix was usually "daft", and it was applied to (and by) the girls at school just as much as the lads ... and the staff, both male and female, were known to apply it, too.

          Perhaps things have changed.

          1. You aint sin me, roit Silver badge

            Re: Old git

            Perhaps they did change... my familiarity with the word predates the 70s.

            Northerners tend to use the word 'get'.

            1. fuzzie

              Re: Old git

              Nope, I believe "git" ever had a positive meaning. If you can by our friends at Oxford


              "informal British: An unpleasant or contemptible person."

              This highlights the more general issue of regional and international differences. There is not single universal standard "English". Many/some of the replacement phrases/words have often different or sometimes even negative or offensive meaning outside "American". Yes, many are quite universal,

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well, if you're going to go that far, "hub" is a diminutive term used for a male marriage partner, so that had better go too.

      But more seriously, "black" isn't always a negative thing. In banking and finance, an account "in the black" is in credit, or the FTSE is in the black when it rises. Or at least it was - in the past few days I've seen the FTSE being referred to as "in the green" when it rises. Perhaps Martians might take offence at this, though.

  4. Khaptain Silver badge

    "Git is a perjorarive term used for older people. Which is far worse than a term that someone may misunderstand and take offence at- it's a term intended to be offensive."

    Why should something be renamed because it is offensive ?

    using your logic : I am greatly offended by your request, should we have you removed ?

    1. Adam 1

      Did you read the article? It's about terminology being cancelled because the thought police think that it isn't inclusive. (master/slave, whitelists/blacklists etc). In that context, pointing out that git is similarly non inclusive seems a legitimate case of taking the argument to its logical conclusion.

  5. karlkarl Silver badge

    If Apple wan't to get their APIs away from the ideas of slavery, they should probably also drop their DRM and planned obsolescence strategies. These are *far* more damaging to modern black lives (and yes, even all lives, not just human) than a reminder of the hardships that their ancestors endured.

    At least reducing the term slavery in technical APIs gives it more emphasis when I refer to the term "Digital Slavery" which Apple are trying to force people into.

    1. Adam 1

      Or publish the expected weekly hours worked and average salary for their supply chain factory workers?

    2. Aitor 1 Silver badge


      They are ok abusing employees in factories, that is ok, but Master/Slave is wrong because some people in some part of the world might be offended, even if most slaves historically were not black.

  6. Qarumba

    Software As A Career SJW

    I'm glad I never chose software as a career as it seems to be populated by twats that spend more time taking offence and virtue signalling then they do writing decent software. My sympathies to those of you who have to put up with the SJW brigade in your chosen career.

    P.S. I don't give a shit if you're glad that I didn't choose software as a career.

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Re: Software As A Career SJW

      Search and replace for [offensive term of the hour] is far easier than actually writing good code. These morons can make a career out of it. No end of things evoke feigned offence.

      It doesn't help that upper management seems to tolerate this nonsense, instead of telling them to get back to work or face the consequences.

    2. razorfishsl

      Re: Software As A Career SJW

  7. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge


    I am outraged, OUTRAGED, at the proposed use of Primary/Secondary as a replacement for Master/Slave. Such terms only serve to further promote an exclusionary perspective whereby some are seen as more significant than others, and as a rabid loony SJW with nothing better to do with my time, such perspectives are wholly unacceptable to my delicate snowflake sensibilities.

    I care naught about technical clarity and precise terms. Inclusive language must always be a primary consideration. Technological innovation and improvements are of limited secondary interest.

    THIS. CANNOT. STAND. Down with the use of primary and secondary!!!11!!1!

    1. LDS Silver badge

      I'm going to change them into...

      ... politician/citizen...

    2. P. Lee

      Re: Primary/Secondary

      Just wait til they learn you've hooked up a black Western D drive as the slave... and it has TB in it.

      Personally I'm offended by the use of "child processes" as it excludes those who identify as male and don't get me started on lack of body positivity in the vFAT-free disk sector chains.

      Computing has a long been a part of patriarchal misogyny with men peeking and poking wherever they wanted with little regard for the consequences, giving commands without asking for consent, expecting things to do done in a timely fashion. Killing off processes just because they don't adhere to western expectations. Even the screens are white with most of the blackness marginalised, kept to the edges or hidden around the back.

      Cosmetic-only changes are bad enough when they are used to make an old product look new. Cosmetic changes which only your devs see is a whole new level of "we're out of ideas."

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Offended?'s a suggestion....

    Where once someone had somewhat meaningful names (example from C), they wrote a parser which took every symbol (except reserved words), and replaced them with random vowels though to avoid accidental random (offensive?) words.......thusly:

    char *pGismo; -> *jTgb8973T

    double dBalance; -> zXdcvw0273

    char strCourseTitle[]; -> hIneYH39665

    int nChildren; -> qqWgHT310999

    int padwithblanks( char *given); -> lLKnbswq2901(char *nVZSD8234)


    There.......problem solved......apart from small issues like readability and maintenance. Win some, lose some.

  9. razorfishsl

    And the woke brigade gradually take control of the future......

    1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      And the woke brigade gradually take control of the future......

      At this rate I don't think we'll HAVE a future.

      Besides, we can't talk about "the future". It might be offensive to the "future-challenged"...

  10. jelabarre59 Silver badge

    only noticable now

    You know, if some thin-skinned, offense-excuse-seeking little dimwits didn't get their generic-undergarments all in a bunch, most of us wouldn't even take the "offensive" meanings of these terms. Now that they've brought it up, NOW is when we'll start thinking of those heretofore-forgotten meanings. Sheer brilliance (not!!!).

    Oh, sorry, can't use the term "dimwit"; "dim" might be offensive to under-powered light bulbs.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So the ones not happy with this are those that are included already!

    The only ones complaining about removal of non-inclusive language look to be the ones that are already included.

    Most use of master/slave is incorrect anyway. A slave database is actually an in sync replica typically ready to assume the masters role when needed, so it’s really a replica/secondary/clone typically playing the same commands the primary did and not commanded to do stuff by the primary. Same story with drives, a slave is typically a subordinate, it’s not directed or controlled by the primary.

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: So the ones not happy with this are those that are included already!

      Fortunately I haven't seen a master / slave drive in about 20 years since SATA came out.

  12. Willy Hilly

    Hello? Anyone? Am I invisible?

    'People of colour' surely is a meaningless term. The only person it wouldn't apply to is the invisible man / woman / holotype / lectotype / taxon.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Hello? Anyone? Am I invisible?

      PoC means non-White in the US.


      1. Tessier-Ashpool

        Re: Hello? Anyone? Am I invisible?

        People of colour also means non-White in touchy publications such as The Guardian.

        The thing is, it’s not been thought through very carefully. People of Southend happen to live in an Essex town. It’s a place. Colour isn’t a place.

        People with colour would be more appropriate.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hello? Anyone? Am I invisible?

        Not to be confused with "colored people", which is bad.

        A whole new generation has risen up, stronger than before, that in no way understands the lifecycle of euphemism.

  13. Ian Joyner Bronze badge

    Years ago one of our hardware guys wrote a basic program with an instruction "Depress the return key" – Apple did not like that. I don't blame them.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021