back to article Linux Foundation, IBM, Cisco and others back ‘Inclusive Naming Initiative’ to change nasty tech terms

A new group called the “Inclusive Naming Initiative” has revealed its existence and mission “to help companies and projects remove all harmful and unclear language of any kind and replace it with an agreed-upon set of neutral terms.” Akamai, Cisco, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, IBM, the Linux Foundation, Red Hat, and …

  1. jake Silver badge

    So basically we're going to have to re-name everything.

    Here's a little story, written in common UNIX terminology:

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

    Presumably you are planning on making this kind of thing impossible, right? No? Then what's the fucking point? And who is going to pay for updating all the technical documentation and textbooks, world-wide? Just to appease a small handful of hand-wringing namby-pambys who find insult around every bush, even (or especially!) if it's not there.

    What a fucking waste of time. The mind absolutely boggles.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So basically we're going to have to re-name everything.

      <Snigger!> You said 'bush' - I'm calling HR!

      (Well done for the little story - (best use of whereis I've seene!!) - posix-tastic!)

    2. Tigra 07
      Meh

      Re: So basically we're going to have to re-name everything.

      They'll be doing this all again every few years because far left people keep getting offended at everything and finding language they don't understand problematic.

      1. jake Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: So basically we're going to have to re-name everything.

        It's hardly confined to left wing nuts. Wingnuts of every political stripe engage in this kind of asshattery, and you know it just as well as I do.

        I humbly submit that this particular branch of human stupidity can and should stand alone without dragging politics into it.

        Edit: Damn cat keeps posting for me ... This round's on me.

        1. roytrubshaw
          Childcatcher

          Re: So basically we're going to have to re-name everything.

          I humbly submit that this ...

          And there's the "Submit" button found ... everywhere...

          While we're about it; do we have to do something about "Abort" too?

          And ...

          Just a thought, is the article published 133 days too early?

          1. Cheshire Cat
            Stop

            Re: So basically we're going to have to re-name everything.

            > While we're about it; do we have to do something about "Abort" too?

            I had to deal with that sort of misapplied nonsense 20y ago, someone thought the message "process aborted" was insensitive as they apparently couldn't tell the difference between a computer systems process and a foetus. "process terminated" was also out. I can't remember what they finally settled on, but it was something like "process did not run at users request" or similar.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: So basically we're going to have to re-name everything.

              In the mid-late '80s I was a Yank working in a Yank company. Our software had an Abort command, and another Yank company asked us to change the name. We told them to fuck off.

              No, really, our CEO called their CEO and asked if they were kidding about renaming abort. Their CEO indicated they were serious. Our CEO told him to fuck off. In those words. Their CEO sputtered and blustered. Our CEO asked him what part of "fuck off" did he misunderstand? Theirs sputtered and blustered some more. Our CEO laughed at him. Theirs finally hung up. Ours said "I was wondering how long I could keep the shithead on the line." Best conference call I ever sat in on :-)

            2. jason_derp Silver badge

              Re: So basically we're going to have to re-name everything.

              "someone thought the message "process aborted" was insensitive as they apparently couldn't tell the difference between a computer systems process and a foetus.

              In fairness, I've never seen either of them stand up to one of my dropkicks.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: So basically we're going to have to re-name everything.

                You've never drop-kicked a process running on an S/360, then.

          2. fidodogbreath Silver badge

            Re: So basically we're going to have to re-name everything.

            Abort - Obviously problematic, as are Cancel (because we are canceling Abort) and Terminate (shows callous disrespect for the value of the struggling process). Suggest "Disengage."

            Retry - implies that the first try was unworthy of a trophy, so also problematic. "Take another stab" and "Give it another shot" glorify violence and oppression, so hard no there. Suggest "Strive for greater success."

            Fail - Pejorative, judgmental, and damaging to self-esteem. Suggest "Consciously uncouple."

            Ignore - Suggests that we refuse to "see" the wayward process or identify with its struggle. Suggest "Acknowledge and affirm."

        2. Adrian 4 Silver badge

          Re: So basically we're going to have to re-name everything.

          > I humbly submit that this particular branch of human stupidity can and should stand alone without dragging politics into it.

          I agree (and upvoted). But while the sensitivity is certainly present on either end of the spectrum, the objections to this sort of change are almost always expressed in arguments that sound all too like those of the right - they're in terms of 'why should your opinion be foisted on me'.

          So yeah, keep politics out of it. But if your stance is from the left, please try to keep your replies expressed in a way that's in keeping with your idealogy. Or I'm going to mistake you for the person you hate.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: So basically we're going to have to re-name everything.

            This is a theme that lately has been often explored by Le Monde Diplomatique, a monthly newspaper that in the last forty years nobody could accuse of conservatism by any stretch of the imagination.

            One such article, in its English version is titled "The Taliban of San Francisco" (French edition).

        3. Tigra 07
          Facepalm

          Re: So basically we're going to have to re-name everything.

          Don't see many on the right trying to ban and reshape language, and policing what others can do. That's the left.

          You know that just as well as i do.

      2. Graham Dawson Silver badge

        Re: So basically we're going to have to re-name everything.

        Sounds like a variant of the euphemism treadmill. A term is considered offensive and replaced with a euphemism. The new term becomes a synonym for the term it replaced and takes on the offensive status of the old, requiring a new euphemism to replace it. Rinse and repeat.

        1. LovesTha

          Re: So basically we're going to have to re-name everything.

          The important difference is that 'master', 'slave', etc aren't euphemisms, they are the right terms. And switching to 'production', 'branch', etc isn't going to cause people to start using 'production' and 'branch' as euphemisms for slave owners and slaves.

          I don't see a treadmill developing here.

    3. cornetman Silver badge

      Re: So basically we're going to have to re-name everything.

      There is so much really worthwhile work needed in the free software movement.

      Work that will benefit everyone in software, rather than just the perpetually offended.

      This kind of thing is just make-work with very dubious justification.

      I'm just ... speechless.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: So basically we're going to have to re-name everything.

        "I'm just ... speechless."

        That's the best way, the less you say the less they can find offence in. They'll lokk pretty thoroughly though. Can I say "pretty"?

        1. EVP
          Mushroom

          Re: So basically we're going to have to re-name everything.

          No. I’m ugly^w appearance challenged and “pretty” insults^w triggers me.

          (For fsck’s sake. How do they manage to keep up inventing this kind of nonsense. There goes my head, once again —>)

          1. Anthropornis
            Devil

            Re: So basically we're going to have to re-name everything.

            How ŏut if I said Pretty Vacant (and we don't care) ?

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: So basically we're going to have to re-name everything.

              I'd say you have No Feelings.

              1. EVP

                Re: So basically we're going to have to re-name everything.

                One should not be hard on feelings. Someone might be triggered, detonated, or even pulsated.

                I propose everything is reduced to gray goo (’soylent green’ might offend communists, capitalists and the colour blind) and we go dribbling around. That should do it! (Can I say ”do it”?-o)

    4. Electronics'R'Us Silver badge
      Megaphone

      Re: So basically we're going to have to re-name everything.

      Hilarious.

      What about language keywords and perhaps some mnemonics and even some mathematics terms.

      <sarcasm>

      typedef - defining a type? that's offensive!

      #define - defining anything without our consent is offensive!

      union - we are not in a union, we were consciously coupled (Gwyneth Paltrow version)

      class - the struggle goes on comrade!

      bool - you cannot restrict anything to just two possibilities!

      short - offensive to the vertically challenged!

      do - commanding something? that's as bad as that master thing!

      switch - could be potentially offensive in two independent ways!

      pure virtual function - who are you to define 'pure'?!

      operator overloading - exploitation of the workers!

      multiple inheritance - could be considered offensive in multiple independent ways!

      My favourite power architecture mnemonic of all time

      EIEIO - offensive caricature of farmers!

      Mathematics

      irrational number - we'll be the judge of what is rational or not!

      and it's corollary

      rational number

      </sarcasm>

      I wish people would get a grip; the context of language (to convey meaning - no shit) counts far more than the actual terms themselves.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So basically we're going to have to re-name everything.

        And in the data centre, don't mention the "rack".

        https://dilbert.com/strip/2020-09-17

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: So basically we're going to have to re-name everything.

        Commendable effort, but you forgot PEEK and POKE. Don't they teach the BASICs anymore?

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: So basically we're going to have to re-name everything.

          Microsoft FORTRAN for CP/M had them as well.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So basically we're going to have to re-name everything.

        bool - you cannot restrict anything to just two possibilities!

        One thing about living with javascript I never could stomach. All the damn possibilities.

      4. katrinab Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: So basically we're going to have to re-name everything.

        “bool - you cannot restrict anything to just two possibilities!”

        No, that one is fine. Binaries are for computers.

    5. N2 Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: So basically we're going to have to re-name everything.

      This sort of counter productive, unwanted PC shyte will unfortunately continue

      Until those in senior 'management' - who are usually a pack of in-effectual, cantankering, arse licking twats, grow a pair & tell these wankers to Fuck right off.

      Icon - cos thats what they need

    6. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: So basically we're going to have to re-name everything.

      But your story is completely acceptable. It contains no term that implies coercion or power over another. It could equally be related by any partner.

      So prudes might find an objection, but not the authors of the current purge.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So basically we're going to have to re-name everything.

        > But your story is completely acceptable. It contains no term that implies coercion or power over another. It could equally be related by any partner.

        Add a few instances of --force and --help.

    7. Julz Silver badge

      Re: So basically we're going to have to re-name everything.

      yacc, yacc, yacc...

    8. Temmokan

      Re: So basically we're going to have to re-name everything.

      So we now have a minority of universally-challenged, so to say, people ruling the majority. How swell!

      Looks like there will be a special language, "Inclusive English" (consisting of 150-200 words, I assume) and the software installers will choose it as default before they actually install.

      Since "submit", "suspend", "abort", 'cancel", "terminate", even "install" and "uninstall" can offend anyone at any moment.

  2. bin

    What about that special Friday?

    You know - the one when everything is sold cheaply - it's coming up soon - lots of places are doing it early - can you guess what it is yet????

    Funny how the world has not exploded with rage over that yet...........

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: What about that special Friday?

      To say nothing of the name of the house the PotUS lives in.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: What about that special Friday?

        The White House got its name when they had to paint it to cover up the burn marks from when the British set fire to it.

        1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
          Flame

          Re: What about that special Friday?

          Which is exactly the point that will be deliberately missed when the woke inclusivity snowflakes turn their ire toward it.

          [ Icon... because, well, White House history ------> ]

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: What about that special Friday?

            Yeah!

            Give me more hypotheticals towards which I can direct my inexplicable anger.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          apologies, we were approx 206 years too early

        3. TVU

          Re: What about that special Friday?

          "The White House got its name when they had to paint it to cover up the burn marks from when the British set fire to it"

          ...and the Brits were perfectly within their rights to do that because in this case it was the USA that had initiated that 1812 war of aggression. All the 1814 Treaty of Ghent did was basically restore the pre-war status quo although the USA was left with a rather large paint job to undertake.

      2. ChrisElvidge

        Re: What about that special house?

        You mean the one that rhymes with 'toilet'?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What about that special Friday?

      What about "mount" as in " mount a drive"? It sounds like a sexual assault. Darn, now I need a session with my yherapist.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: What about that special Friday?

        It might sound like sex, but doesn't imply assault. It would still be mounting even if consensual.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What about that special Friday?

          Yes but it implies that one partner is above the other. You can't have that.

          (how do these people fuck, btw? hopefully they'll self extinguish in a generation)

          1. Claverhouse Silver badge

            Re: What about that special Friday?

            They hold hands respectfully.

    3. alain williams Silver badge

      Re: What about that special Friday?

      What about martial arts where a black belt shows that you have mastered the sport ?

      1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

        Re: What about that special Friday?

        Please stop giving them even more ideas.

        1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          Re: What about that special Friday?

          Why stop, let's continue until their heads explode, see it as Darwinism in action.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What about that special Friday?

        In that instance black is good and white is bad, so it's not racist, and only racists would be offended, and its okay to offend racists because they're non-people.

      3. jake Silver badge

        Re: What about that special Friday?

        Common misconception. A Black belt shows you know the basics, and are now ready to study the art in greater depth.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What about that special Friday?

          For a long time, mentioning the colour black has been out of order. For example, you can't say "blackboard", even though it's a board that's black; it has to be a "chalkboard".

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: What about that special Friday?

      "the one when everything is sold cheaply"

      So they claim.

  3. IGotOut Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Sigh...

    Changing a 400 year old definition to appease a vocal minority with pointless gestures is just whitewashing.

    If these multi billion dollar companies want to help, rather than posing in the ocean, try spending money on education facilities in poor neighbourhoods. Set up shop in run down areas to help build those areas up and you know, you make actually make a fucking difference.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sigh...

      ^^^This....

      Sums it up nicely and identifies the root of most of the lack of opportunities.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sigh...

      but, but, but, we go to do something! and this is something, therefore we have to do it!

    3. cbars

      Re: Sigh...

      400 years? English was around well before, and slavery too.

      The use of the term slave to refer to a logical process.... a lot less time, maybe 80 years, 100?

      I dont agree that changing the term is useful, but I don't like arguments that try to fight this on a linguistic level. Language changes, and frankly its unusual that we have data from even 50 years ago at such volume. We've never had this problem before, signs rotted and books either got ravaged or were archived away from the populace.

      I think its a new problem, and its interesting what we'll do about it. How to resolve data longevity and societal change?

      1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Sigh...

        Thanks for proving his point. The 400 years is because the term "blacklist" comes from the old practice started 400-500 years ago of people in a parish with bad reputations being listed in a parish book bound in black leather.

        This is like idiots who think that in accounting the black ink & red ink business, which is so one can get a sense of the state of things unambiguously at a glance, has something to do with African slaves and Native Americans.

        1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

          Re: Sigh...

          Oh dear, not to mention mechanical master and slave linkages, master and slave cylinders in hydraulics and pneumatics, master and slave in sexual ... ahem ...

          It would be interesting to know what "they" actually take offence at? The words, the historical usage of the words, the meaning of the words, the current usage of the words?

          I had occasion many years ago to be on the end of a rant by someone who objected to the Les Dawson "northern women talking over the fence" sketches and wanted them immediately banned and Les banned from TV ... After much digging around his real objection, it turned out, was not actually because they were blokes in drag or because the sketches promoted stereotypes or because they used sexist language but because the characters were too "real" and prompted personal memories of his late mother!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Sigh...

            It comes about because teaching about historical US slavery is frequently the only time slavery is ever mentioned in US education from ages 0-18. So any time anyone mentions "slave" the only point of reference almost any USian has is "chained black person". So when they encounter "slave" as a term of art in industry, they cannot comprehend that it could be anything other than endorsing/belittling/making fun of the history of slavery in the US.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Sigh...

              And I doubt there's any mention of Barbary pirates raiding the coasts of Europe for slaves.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Sigh...

                Actually, this Yank learned about the Barbary Pirates raiding Europe for slaves way back when he was enrolled in Ray Lyman Wilbur Junior High School in Palo Alto. They raided all the way up to Iceland, if I recall correctly.

                However, this same Yank remembers no mention of the Barbary pirates at all from school in Yorkshire. Viking raids, yes, but not Islamic raids. But then they never mentioned Sir Francis Drake's pirate & slave trading days, either.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Sigh...

                  > this Yank learned about the Barbary Pirates raiding Europe for slaves way back when he was enrolled in Ray Lyman Wilbur Junior High School

                  For a moment there I thought you were going to say you were a coxswain on one of their boats.

                2. Robert Brockway

                  Re: Sigh...

                  Yep. They once carried an entire Irish village off into slavery. The village just happened to be called Baltimore.

                3. Herby

                  Re: Sigh...

                  On the other hand, the school across the town (David Starr Jordan Junior High School) was recently renamed because some professionally offended person didn't like some of the words they guy said. Yes, I attended that school a LONG time ago. Education has gone a bit down hill, nobody can get through the "correctness" that really isn't.

                  Funny how schools named after prominent people associated with the local university of great repute can get thrown under the bus.

                  Life goes on for most, but some need to complain!

              2. Claverhouse Silver badge

                Re: Sigh...

                Also the reason for King Charles I's noble Ship Money, to build up the Royal Navy in order to fight back: which as he said should be paid by all, regardless of whether they were coastal counties, caused the puritan gentry to declare their tax-hating principles, and was one of the factors in the coming Rebellion.

                Then again, in the Steppes and Eastern European places slave raids kept the Ottoman, and other Islamic states', slave markets full. No doubt, the richer people there also objected to taxes --- I have my doubts as to how much certain members of Boris's cabinets would pay to stop the Liverpudlian poor from being taken off to be enslaved.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Sigh...

              That is correct, and one of the many things that get on my tits. This pop culture view of slavery is dominated by American cultural imperi… influence and thereby turned into slave = black and vice-versa while ignoring the rich and incredibly nuanced history of this socioeconomic phenomenon.

              Or its etymological roots, and I don't see the Russians taking offence.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

        3. tip pc Silver badge

          Re: Sigh...

          "The 400 years is because the term "blacklist" comes from the old practice started 400-500 years ago of people in a parish with bad reputations being listed in a parish book bound in black leather."

          thats great to know,

          now where did the term "WHITELIST" originate from?

          this is quite interesting:

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

          "Use of the term blacklist first gained credence and popularity in the United States not by way of McCarthy, but rather from British blockade efforts during World War I. Over the course of 1915 and 1916 British government agencies gradually developed an implemented a system whereby neutral firms and individuals suspected of trading with or otherwise aiding the Central Powers would be denied access to Entente infrastructure such as ship bunker, financial services and communications. Cargoes or merchant vessels belonging to such firms or individuals could also be confiscated by Entente naval patrols if encountered in transit to Europe.

          British government agencies and departments maintained several such lists, but only one of these were public. Officially called the Statutory List, but much more commonly known simply as the British blacklist, it became a prominent focus of hatred, not only among those American firms actually listed, but also by many members of the American media and general public which resented what was seen as illegal British interference with neutral trade. This resentment ran so deep that when the United States adopted similar trade control measures after joining the war in April 1917, the US government was careful never to officially endorse the British list, as well as avoiding referring to their own efforts by the same name.

          edit: A quick Google Ngram search illustrates the trend nicely. Use of the term blacklist is extant before the Great War, but experiences a massive surge in popularity during the conflict itself. The subsequent upswing during the Second World War represents wide usage during that conflict to describe all manners of restrictions and proscriptions, many of which built on the experiences from the previous war.

          The term whitelist is of much more recent origin, first being attested in 1842, and is then explicitly used to refer to the opposite of a blacklist (i.e. a list of approved or favored items)."

          Etymology alone doesn't explain the current want to improve the language. Meaning and use changes over time, its time better language was used now.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Sigh...

        "I think its a new problem"

        Unfortunately it isn't. It's Puritanism updated. These things go in cycles. Bowdlerisation and high Victorian prudery followed in the late 18th & the 19th centuries. Periodically we get outbursts of of people looking for things to be offended by. Samuel Johnson's riposte is often the best way of dealing with them.

        1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells

          Re: Sigh...

          I do hope I'm still young enough to enjoy the backlash when it comes.

        2. Electronics'R'Us Silver badge
          Devil

          Puritanism

          I agree with you.

          Here is a definition I heard many years ago.

          Puritanism: The nagging fear that someone, somewhere, is enjoying themselves.

          1. RM Myers Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Puritanism

            Based on that definition, the year 2020 could be the death of puritanism. Does anyone really believe someone could be enjoying themselves now?

            1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells

              Re: Puritanism

              The people who enjoy dobbing in their neighbours are having a whale of a time.

              If the vaccine is enough, next year will probably be hedonistic. The question is will that defeat or recruit puritans.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Puritanism

              I have enjoyed so many weekends in the workshop this year, seeing as all the galleries are closed and mother in laws are separately bubbled.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Puritanism

              Masochists?

        3. cbars

          Re: Sigh...

          Ah, yes, thats an interesting comparison, but I'm not convinced it can be the same without without the religious angle giving you the "right" to "save" other people from their beliefs.

          When the suggestions become mandatory, thats when I'll worry - until then, if you want to dig through yotabytes of machine instructions looking for objectionable material... go nuts

  4. tip pc Silver badge

    About bloody time

    The tech industry should have spearheaded this initiative years ago.

    Im glad they are finally making the effort to change.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: About bloody time

      I look forward to the fantastic change in social equality this will bring.

      Certainly IBM have a long heritage of treating their employees with dignity, equality and respect so their input here must be welcomed by all.

    2. Timmy B

      Re: About bloody time

      You realise this is a thin veneer of faux civility that simply won't change one tiny thing? This allows companies and people to look all nice and great whilst changing nothing in their actions. If they really cared they would, as already mentioned, implement actual education initiatives and truly create equal opportunity.

    3. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Re: About bloody time

      Or, you know, just don't be proactively offended by things that have no inherent offensive meaning.

    4. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: About bloody time

      Change? Bullshit. Changing the names of things is just window dressing at best. Pointless virtue signalling while everything that actually matters stays more or less the same.

  5. jpo234

    Newspeak is coming.

    1. Norman Nescio

      Sapir-Whorf

      We have always had Newspeak, and the chocolate ration has been increased again! Doubleplusgood!

      Of course, the anticipated beneficial effect of changing language on thought rather depends on whether the strong Sapir-Whorf hypothesis is true. There is some debate over this.

      I'm also happy that suggested other choices to replace 'blacklist' do not include the ambiguous term 'blocklist'. In general, I am in favour of using descriptive names that are clear, accurate, unambiguous, and without negative cultural baggage.

      NN

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Sapir-Whorf

        I'm pretty sure it was Noam Chomsky who put the kibosh on linguistic relativity once and for all.

        1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

          Re: Sapir-Whorf

          Yeah, but he says lots of things. I think his judgement is affected by having English as his native language.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Sapir-Whorf

            for some value of {English}

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Sapir-Whorf

              Yeah, that Phily accent of his is atrocious.

          2. jake Silver badge

            Re: Sapir-Whorf

            He was raised bilingual, Hebrew and English.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Sapir-Whorf

            Nope, see comment above.

            I looked her up: Prof. Lera Boroditsky, and Belarussian, not Russian. My apologies.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sapir-Whorf

          Nope, it was a Russian researcher. Her name escapes me at the moment.

      2. roytrubshaw
        Headmaster

        Re: Sapir-Whorf

        <probably apocryphal>

        Apparently, squaddies posted to the Falkland Islands (in the 80s) would call the natives "Bennies" after a character in Crossroads (ahh Meg!).

        This was frowned upon and they were ordered to desist.

        Which they did.

        A new term was coined: "Stills".

        I.e. Still "Bennies".

        </probably apocryphal>

        The point we are all making is that the words don't matter it is the intent.

        So "Ten Little Niggers" was filmed as "Ten Little Indians" and has now been re-titled as "And Then There Were None", it's still the same book and the original title was a product of its time; we're happy to villify totalitarian regimes for re-writing history but it's OK for us to do it in the name of not giving offense?

        What happened to "Sticks and Stones"?

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Sapir-Whorf

          And then there's the one about the joint military exercises. The Army officers were fed up with being called "Pongoes" and complained. As a result the Navy circulated an order saying "Army officers should not be referred to as Pongoes" and the RAF circulated an order saying "Pongoes should be referred to as Army officers".

          Also apocryphal. Allegedly.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Sapir-Whorf

            Don't know about that one but one of my instructors, a long retired Wing Cdr., recalls starting a discussion about traditions with an RN officer and the latter declaring: "The Royal Navy has traditions. The RAF merely have habits."

            Or words to that effect.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sapir-Whorf

          Not entirely apocryphal. Our medic, who had already served down there, did refer to the locals as Yetis (yet still a Benny). Not in their presence, obviously.

          He was also surprised to learn that Rosie was still in business, btw.

        3. Cav

          Re: Sapir-Whorf

          "So "Ten Little Niggers" was filmed as "Ten Little Indians" and has now been re-titled as "And Then There Were None", it's still the same book and the original title was a product of its time; we're happy to villify totalitarian regimes for re-writing history but it's OK for us to do it in the name of not giving offense?"

          That's not the same thing at all. Re-writing history, to hide truth, is very different to renaming a book, or movies based on it, from a term that would cause offense now.

  6. Natalie Gritpants Jr Silver badge

    What are we going to do about the embedded devices?

    Plenty of embedded device standards use master/slave terminology. e.g. SPI has MISO and MOSI (master in slave out). There will me circuit boards with those names printed on that will continue to exist for decades. Are we going to get a whole new set of standards with just the names changed?

    1. tip pc Silver badge

      Re: What are we going to do about the embedded devices?

      It’s about ensuring new stuff is changed using better language.

      No one is talking about replacing existing physical hardware.

      Software updates can obviously update language as part of other updates, online docs can be amended, graphics may take some time to be redone or if the original files exist could be automated.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: What are we going to do about the embedded devices?

        "Software updates can obviously update language as part of other updates, online docs can be amended, graphics may take some time to be redone or if the original files exist could be automated."

        You are volunteering your time and money to implement this world-wide? Kewl. Be sure to let us all know when you are done, OK? Have fun!

        1. tip pc Silver badge

          Re: What are we going to do about the embedded devices?

          "You are volunteering your time and money to implement this world-wide? Kewl. Be sure to let us all know when you are done, OK? Have fun!"

          Who suggested doing software updates to everything world wide (i assume that's what you meant).

          Obviously, over time, old kit dies and is replaced with new kit that should no longer contain outdated language. Kit that needs software updates on a regular basis can updated as part of that cycle.

          You are clearly deliberately making stupid excuses as a reason to not update the language.

          Most people are more than happy to buy new product that has some improvement over the last (could just be that the last has died) or update their existing product with new software.

          I don't need to volunteer my time when the overwhelming majority already expend their time on updates, or time will take care of the systems that can't or won't be updated.

          These changes are typically invisible to the end users anyway, so why are you so resistive to this?

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: What are we going to do about the embedded devices?

            "Obviously, over time, old kit dies and is replaced with new kit that should no longer contain outdated language."

            The entire problem arises from the fact that words, at least in English, have long been able to have multiple meanings. This seems to be at the root of your idea of "outdated" - it seems that the offence seekers want words to have only one. What's even more peculiar is that they seem to only want a word to have its most offensive meaning even if it's one, for example "blacklist", which only they attribute to it.

            If we are to update the language this is a Herculean task. Perhaps you could start be looking up the dictionary definition of "set", tell us which is the most offensive meaning which should be retained and then suggest alternatives for all the other meanings.

          2. ChrisC Silver badge

            Re: What are we going to do about the embedded devices?

            "Obviously, over time, old kit dies and is replaced with new kit that should no longer contain outdated language."

            Which is fine if that device is completely self contained. What about devices that need to connect to other devices via interfaces which use these terms, but where only one of the devices has been updated to avoid using those terms? In the documentation for the updated device you now have to figure out how to clearly and unambiguously define how to make the connections between those two devices, without continuing to make use of those terms.

            Sure, *eventually* everything will be updated, but it's not necessarily quite as simple as saying that once each individual device is updated that the problem goes away for users of that device - there's going to be a looooooong period of overlap where users still need to know what the old term was that the new term has replaced, to avoid any problems when using systems formed from mixtures of old and new.

            Oh, and BTW, you can't say that old kit dies any more, that's offensive to people who've suffered genuine loss in their lives. Not even sure you can say "old" kit, especially not in the context of it being replaced by new kit, as that perpetuates the myth that old stuff is no good, which is an ageist attitude not to be tolerated.

          3. Colin Bull 1
            Facepalm

            Re: What are we going to do about the embedded devices?

            "These changes are typically invisible to the end users anyway, so why are you so resistive to this?"

            Because these are changes that are not needed and are just about some prats with nothing better to do with their time.

            Black and white are colours and their use to describe good or bad things has nothibg to do with skin colour but to do with night and day , light and dark.

            Why should anyone be offended by the use of master slave to describe a relationship of some kind. Who can be offended? Hundreds of years ago african traders were capturing people off of the coast of Devon and Cornwall and enslaving them. I do not see why their ancestors would be offended by this term.

            1. Richard 12 Silver badge

              Re: What are we going to do about the embedded devices?

              The problem there is using colours to describe "good and bad things".

              The solution for that part is to call bad things bad and good things good. No euphemisms, just actual "block" and "allow", "ethical" and "evil" etc.

              Think about what it must be like to be "black", and then see thousands upon thousands of examples where "black is bad". What must that feel like?

              Then consider what unconscious bias that's instilled in you without you even realising it.

              Hollywood and TV have far more to answer for than IT of course, but one should try to fix what one can. If nothing else, that also puts pressure on those who can also fix other industries.

              1. Carpet Deal 'em
                Stop

                Re: What are we going to do about the embedded devices?

                > Think about what it must be like to be "black", and then see thousands upon thousands of examples where "black is bad". What must that feel like?

                Why do I get the feeling you're a self-important white person without any real problems?

                > Then consider what unconscious bias that's instilled in you without you even realising it.

                None? You're out looking for antlion dens to turn into mountains to assuage an underlying guilt without any sacrifice on your part to address it. I wonder what it is?

          4. jake Silver badge

            Re: What are we going to do about the embedded devices?

            You are clearly inventing stupid excuses to change the language ... and in this very forum, the people who use this lingo day in and day out are telling you that the ends don't justify the necessary means to implement your demands. And yet you still insist your crusade is correct, and all the rest of us are wrong?

            There's a word for that.

            As for "These changes are typically invisible to the end users anyway" ... If so, then what's the fucking point? Change for change's sake, to make you feel better about something that you (hopefully!) never participated in?

            There's a word for that, too.

            1. tip pc Silver badge

              Re: What are we going to do about the embedded devices?

              Just wow,

              The vitriol espoused by those on here that think they know better, who have never been disadvantaged or impacted or to turn things around, could be lifted by not seeing constant reference to these terms in their working life.

              You will never know how much this small change will have a positive impact to ALL people who will no longer come across these references in the future.

              You and all the others complaining literally have to do nothing, the multi billion $ tech industry is leading the way and clearing this mess up.

              The fact that there is so much resistance just goes to show how much further we all need to go.

              Have you ever been in the situation where someone is insulting you with words that are ordinarily "not insulting"? And then find those same "non insulting" words used to describe things you need to do or interact with on a daily basis as part of your job?

              We can't stop until we get to the stage where people don't feel insulted or threatened by words that had more sinister meanings decades or centuries ago.

              Kick and scream as much as you like, others are making the changes to make tomorrow a better and more inclusive place, regardless of your views.

              1. ChrisC Silver badge

                Re: What are we going to do about the embedded devices?

                "You and all the others complaining literally have to do nothing, the multi billion $ tech industry is leading the way and clearing this mess up."

                Umm, this is a technology site, I think you'll find that quite a few of us putting forward our opinions on this subject *are* part of the multi billion $ tech industry, and therefore we bloody well WILL have to do stuff to implement these changes as and when our individual employers decide they must be done.

                "Have you ever been in the situation where someone is insulting you with words that are ordinarily "not insulting"? And then find those same "non insulting" words used to describe things you need to do or interact with on a daily basis as part of your job?"

                In the early 80's when home computing exploded in the UK, I got a ZX Spectrum, which pretty much everyone, myself included, referred to as the "Speccy". Which, according to you, ought to have been a problem for me, because "speccy" was also a term of insult regularly thrown at me by virtue of my having been afflicted by crappy eyesight from early childhood. Except it wasn't a problem at all, because I understood the context in which the word was being used, and was readily able to seperate the insulting/derogatory use that some people put the word to, from the positive/friendly use it saw from others.

                The simple fact is, it was just a word, a collection of letters formed in a certain order, which in itself had no power over anyone. It's only when it was put to use in specific ways by people with a specific intent that it became a problem, but even then the word itself wasn't the problem, rather the intent behind its use in that way. Given enough time and energy and a desire to screw with people, it'd be possible to take any random word that currently has little or no negative connotations - e.g. Belgium - and turn it into something that has the masses howling for it to be purged from the lexicon for all eternity.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: What are we going to do about the embedded devices?

                  > I got a ZX Spectrum, which pretty much everyone, myself included, referred to as the "Speccy".

                  It's a good job that they didn't have Git back in those days :-)

            2. tip pc Silver badge

              Re: What are we going to do about the embedded devices?

              "You are clearly inventing stupid excuses to change the language ... and in this very forum, the people who use this lingo day in and day out are telling you that the ends don't justify the necessary means to implement your demands. And yet you still insist your crusade is correct, and all the rest of us are wrong?

              There's a word for that.'

              i'm not inventing any excuses, IT Industry heavy weights have announced they are making changes, i am in full support of the changes they are making and their reasons for doing so.

              Better words and terms already exist that are more descriptive and probably do a better job to describe how these things work now than they did in the past.

              Active / Standby is more descriptive than master / slave. i know that the standby thing is ready to be active the moment the active thing fails, often the slave system does what the master tells it to and is dependant on the master with both failing if the master fails, db's have used master as the main and slave as the replica with often the replica able to assume master duties or more likely with the replica able to repair the main in case of an issue. We can do far better than master / slave with our current technology

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-master_replication

              This is a forum, a place where ideas and views can be exchanged and discussed. In my 3 decades of IT these terms have been banded around and funnily enough non technical people are often baffled by "blacklist" but get it when its contrasted with "whitelist" but blocklist/allowlist is far more explanatory and therefore efficient in conveying the intent.

              Terms tend to stick so when non techs learn some tech terms they spread it like they have one up on someone else, blacklist being bad purely because it contains the word black.

              Blocklist is far better as things can be blocked not because they are bad but because they need to be blocked.

              Certain types of people will always argue tooth and nail for not changing this, there a word for them too.

              1. xanda
                Megaphone

                Re: What are we going to do about the embedded devices?

                "Certain types of people..."

                And that's what all the howling & pontificating really comes down to.

                You've got a beef with, and not a small contempt for, a cross section of society (if not all of it) and your way of seeking redress is to enforce a lexiconic straight-jacket over everyone else.

                Don't misunderstand: Peaceful day-to-day relations with colleagues is one thing wherever it can be achieved but forcing-feeding a militant political agenda with inquisitorial religious zeal isn't going to help anyone.

                Ultimately none of the examples cited by you, or within the renaming initiatives, are really anything to get upset about, either in their supposed historical context or technical application. Indeed, as you yourself have alluded to, language changes with time and so it follows that whomever might feel such terms are objectionable would be better served by supplementing their vocabulary with more nuance.

                That's something that will go much further in the long run.

              2. ChrisC Silver badge

                Re: What are we going to do about the embedded devices?

                "Active / Standby is more descriptive than master / slave."

                In cases like this, the problem with the use of master/slave isn't whatever misplaced inference those words might have to some onlookers, but simply that they're crap choices for describing two interacting things which don't actually have a master/slave relationship.

                "funnily enough non technical people are often baffled by "blacklist" but get it when its contrasted with "whitelist" but blocklist/allowlist is far more explanatory"

                I'm going to presume that your experience has been based on interactions with non-native English speakers here, because blacklist as a term for denying someone/something has been used in general English for long enough to be something that really ought to be understood by someone brought up in an English speaking country.

                And from a comprehension point of view, blocklist really isn't any better than blacklist, because until you pair it up with allowlist (in the same way you criticised "blacklist" for not being understood until paired with "whitelist") then you're not providing any context as to whether "block" is being used as a verb - i.e. to impede/prevent - or as a noun - i.e. an object. So is a "blocklist" a list of things that need to be blocked, or is it a list of blocks of things?

                "Certain types of people will always argue tooth and nail for not changing this, there a word for them too."

                In principle I'm not actually against change where there's *good* reason for doing so, and provided that sufficient care and attention is taken when choosing the alternatives so as not to introduce ambiguity where none currently exists. But wouldn't it be better if the time and energy spent on trying to sanitise the language was put to use educating people that context matters, and that if someone thinks "blacklist" is a slur on people of colour,or that describing a comms link as a "master/slave setup" in any way condones or makes light of actual human slavery, then it says more about them than it does about the term itself.

          5. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: What are we going to do about the embedded devices?

            > I don't need to volunteer my time

            Obviously. You'd rather volunteer mine.

            That's the problem with your ilk. All self-entitlement and no sense of duty.

      2. Electronics'R'Us Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: What are we going to do about the embedded devices?

        The term master / slave describes very accurately a specific type of interface used by literally tens of thousands of parts (I may be a bit on the low side there).

        Any terminology that still accurately describes this interface will still be offensive to those who are determined to take offence at anything they personally deem 'offensive'.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Unhappy

        Re: What are we going to do about the embedded devices?

        Software updates can obviously update language as part of other updates, online docs can be amended, graphics may take some time to be redone or if the original files exist could be automated.

        And what is the opportunity cost incurred as a result of the effort put into all these utterly pointless activities?

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What are we going to do about the embedded devices?

        Yeah, and having all of the software and documentation changed to new terms and not actually match the markings on the hardware is totally the sort of idea that that won't have unintended consequences right?

    2. ForthIsNotDead
      Mushroom

      Re: What are we going to do about the embedded devices?

      Tsk. Just tipex over the offensive and fear-inducing names on the circuit boards, and replace them with nice words like 'flower' and 'peace'. See? Wasn't hard was it?

      Meanwhile, I'm struggling with a Python app that I am developing right now which talks to obsolete RTUs made in the 80s using a long obsolete serial protocol. I literally have functions called poll_slave (in the master) and reply_to_master (in the slave).

      I am reporting myself to HR for re-education as soon as I finish this post. I you don't see me again, please tell my family I love them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What are we going to do about the embedded devices?

        "Wasn't hard"??? That's offensive to those with erectile problems.

    3. Tigra 07

      Re: What are we going to do about the embedded devices?

      No silly. Obviously in 10 years if you're found to have one of these devices with forbidden words you'll be dragged off to the gulag, never to be heard from again.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: What are we going to do about the embedded devices?

        In 10 years the currently approved terminology will have been deemed offensive and we'll have to start all over again.

        1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          Re: What are we going to do about the embedded devices?

          In 10 years? I fear you are overly optimistic, I give it only 5.

        2. Tigra 07

          Re: What are we going to do about the embedded devices?

          Agreed. The same has already happened with many words. I have said as much in a reply to someone else, who didn't like me pointing that out.

    4. JavaJester

      Re: What are we going to do about the embedded devices?

      Excellent point. I suppose if we must go down this newspeak rabbit hole, that should at least use words that start with the same letter. So if master/slave becomes main/secondary the acronyms still work.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Unhappy

        Re: What are we going to do about the embedded devices?

        So if master/slave becomes main/secondary the acronyms still work.

        You do know that some things, like IDE interfaces, have secondary slaves?

    5. Adrian 4 Silver badge

      Re: What are we going to do about the embedded devices?

      I was inclined to say the same about SPI. I feel that it's an accurate representation of what a slave was (and, sadly, is) : it performs precisely in lockstep with the demands of its master. This is not so much a defence of the term slave as a further condemnation of it as a descrption to be used of a person.

      However, after seeing some other redefinition of MISO and MOSI which I felt lost the unamibiguity of the original names, and looking carefully at the terms suggested in that document - some of which are outright incorrect for an SPI bus - , I think either leader/follower or primary/secondary are adequate descriptions of a situation where the data clock is controlled wholly by the leader.

      It appears that 'master' is not considered quite so offensive and has some application where it carries no connotations of slavery. It's slave that's the big problem. This could allow us to use Master/Secondary which not only accurately describes the relationship but also retains the existing MISO / MOSI acronyms.

      Yes, it's whitewashing. Yes, it will allow people confused by the clear distinction of these situations to continue their pointless sensitivity. But it's not an argument worth winning. There will be others.

  7. Evil Scot
    Coffee/keyboard

    Bollocks a half hearted aproach

    Or to put it another way what about my Genitofemoral nerve damage and other issues that impact on day to day life.

    Facebook are advertising for me to join them with with the "we are a diverse company, look at the range of skin colours we have.."

    And I am like "So where is the chrome and aluminium? Where is the Labrador?"

    Where are the politically correct terms for Bolean states. The shades of gray that say you cannot type here.

    I wonder who sees the word not mentioned. Icon because my prison is invisible and I cant.

  8. Elledan Silver badge

    Slavering over mastering offence

    Mastering the slavering over being perpetually offended by perceived slights, even when the most common use of 'slave', 'master' and 'blacklist' are not slights at all is truly a dark blight on humanity. When there will always be devices and services that will slavishly follow the instructions provided to them, and students will continue to slave over their homework assignments the day before it's due lest the teacher deems that their efforts are insufficient for mastering the course.

    Language is meant to convey meaning, not to engender its own meaning from thin air, or have individuals with a simplistic agenda determine what it is that they feel you meant to say.

    Or in the words of everyone's most beloved feminist: everything is misogynistic, even when you don't realise it is.

  9. ForthIsNotDead
    Devil

    So... looking at their alternative names...

    ... they prefer the following for master/slave:

    Preferred:

    * Control plane/control plane node

    * Controller/doer

    * Primary/replica

    * Primary/secondary

    Also acceptable:

    * Leader/follower

    * Parent/child

    Comrades, I feel I have to lodge strong objection to 'leader/follower'. The very notion of a leader and a subservient follower is the very epitome of traditional bourgeoisie class structure. Did we not revolt in order to remove these class structures? Yet here we are being encouraged to embody those very class-structure stereotypes in our software? Comrades, we must reject this motion immediately. The gender-non-specific persons that have made this suggestion shall be reported to the software-terms controlling committee forthwith.

    I also raise strong objection to parent/child. In a perfect utopian society such as ours, there are no parents. Only guardians. Children are collectively taken care of by the collective, which clearly does not represent the same software relationship that is being described here. Indeed, it presents unpleasant authoritarian connotations which surely go against the spirit of what is being attempted here? Surely, in a peaceful collective, where all comrades are peers, the perfect description would be:

    WillingParticipant1/WillingParticipant2

    Though I encourage my comrades to come together in the spirit of participation in order to work, collectively, on the truly noble goal of removing '1' and '2' from the above; Having a WillingParticipant1 and WillingParticipant2 implies some sort pecking order, again unthinkable in the true software development collective. Are we not all peers, comrades?

    Indeed, in an effort to solve this problem, I move to form a committee to look into possible alternatives. I appoint myself leader of this committee. Any objections, comrades?

    1. Potemkine! Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: So... looking at their alternative names...

      No Master and Slave anymore?

      It's a discrimination against the BDSM community!

    2. cyberdemon Silver badge
      Devil

      > Also acceptable: * Parent/child

      And when you realise that you have just written a function called kill_all_children()?

      Oh noes! You have once again attracted the ire of the non-technical moral critics.

      Honestly, I think whoever started this are trolls. They are not doing this to improve the lives of anyone, they are doing it simply to spread division and conflict within the open source community.

      1. Electronics'R'Us Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: > Also acceptable: * Parent/child

        Deleting text in EMACS has the perversely satisfying response:

        140* characters killed.

        * your number may vary :)

    3. Elledan Silver badge

      Re: So... looking at their alternative names...

      I think out of those I'd probably go with 'Vampyr/Thrall' for accuracy's sake :)

    4. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: So... looking at their alternative names...

      Parent/child? Seriously? When has a child ever always done exactly what their parent said to do? (God knows I didn't)

      "Doer"? Since when was that a word?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: So... looking at their alternative names...

        "Doer"? Since when was that a word?

        A long time, actually. In farming an animal might be referred to as a good or bad doer depending on whether or not it thrives.

    5. ChrisC Silver badge

      Re: So... looking at their alternative names...

      "Primary/replica"

      This is only useful in a quite narrow range of cases where master/slave is currently used - e.g. backup systems where the slave backup *is* a replica of the master.

      "Primary/secondary"

      Also only useful in a narrow range of cases where the slave device can take over and act as a replacement for the master. And TBH, if a slave device *can* do that, then I'd argue that use of master/slave terminology is wrong simply because it doesn't correctly reflect the nature of the system.

      This highlights the problem we face - barring cases where master/slave is currently being used in a manner which doesn't accurately reflect the nature of the master and slave devices, it provides a readily understood way of describing which device does what within the system, and can be applied to all manner of different systems across different fields - electronics, IT, mechanical engineering etc. In the brave new world where these terms are deemed verboten, we now have to be *very* careful as to which of the approved alternatives are used so as not to introduce ambiguities where none existed previously. And even if we manage to do that, we'll then be in a world where we have to understand a veritable smorgasbord of term pairings rather than just needing to understand one. Rinse and repeat for all the other pairings which are being similarly reworded into one of a variety of different alternatives - technical glossaries are going to end up being bigger than the rest of the system documentation...

    6. roytrubshaw
      Childcatcher

      Re: So... looking at their alternative names...

      I'd be interested to see the reaction of the Car industry to renaming the "brake master cylinder" to "brake parent cylinder"?

      I'm sure there are innumerable car workers / mechanics who have been offended by the original name.

    7. Anthropornis

      Re: So... looking at their alternative names...

      The other problem with Leader/follower is that they aren't thinking out i18n. Try translating it into German.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Did this 10 years ago...

    This kind of stuff was a management requirement for us a very long time ago. I'm surprised it took RedHat and IBM so long...

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Did this 10 years ago...

      You have our sympathy.

  11. ForthIsNotDead
    Trollface

    What is this heresey?

    ** The 14th Official Gathering of the Software Terms and Definitions Sub-Committee **

    ** Urgent Communique for immediate release **

    It has been brought to the attention of the sub-committee this day, that the concept of 'Boolean', or 'binary' truth exists within the software development discipline. Comrades are reminded, that only the Software Terms and Definitions Sub-Committee or their appointed deputies thereof may adjudicate and adjudge on what is 'true' and what is 'false'. Comrades are respectfully reminded that evaluating 'truth' is a complex exercise, based on careful consideration of facts known (or unknown), opinions (where these align with permitted and authorised principles) and denunciations.

    Comrades are therefore hereby instructed to submit all software boolean expressions for adjudication by the Software Terms and Definitions Sub-Committee (Boolean-Sub-Committee) for evaluation and ruling. Failure to comply with the above directive will be met with punitive consequences.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: What is this heresey?

      How positively DARE you forget ternary logic!

      1. horse of a different color

        Re: What is this heresey?

        Can't we just acknowledge the beautiful spectrum of numbers between 0 and 1?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What is this heresey?

      Your use of the term binary is offensive to non-binary folk, please report yourself to the nearest police station immediately.

  12. Me.I.Am

    I'm offended

    I'm offended their offended.

    Can't they pledge all this time, effort and money into solving world hunger or making sure every child can read.

    Agree with other posters. Total waste of time.

    1. Martin Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: I'm offended

      I'm offended THEY'RE offended.

      Sigh.

      Still, for some reason, it seems particularly appropriate to be a grammar nazi in this context.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: I'm offended

        Or a vocabulary Nazi.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Big Brother

        Re: I'm offended

        I'm offended THEY'RE offended.

        Only a rabidly fanatical grammar Nazi bore would point out here the missing subordinating conjunction needed to link the dependent clause with the independent one.

        I'm offended THAT they're offended.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cloud Native Computing

    So are they going to change their org name to avoid offending the various natives around the world? Be careful what you wish for, someone will eventually force this on them if we go down this route

  14. Sceptic Tank Bronze badge
    Big Brother

    So I have this system where a view has an "owner". Is anybody offended? Should I change my design?

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Re: So I have this system where a view has an "owner"

      Is anybody offended?

      In today's idiocracy, it's guaranteed this will offend someone. And it will be someone who has no business deciding what your technical requirements should be.

      Should I change my design?

      Absolutely not. Last thing we should do is pander to these morons.

      Yes, I know the OP was sarcasm.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why am I not surprised to see so much enraged Gammon? Exactly how does this affect how you do your job? Oh that's right is doesn't

    1. jake Silver badge

      So let me get this straight[0] ...

      ... An AC who is seemingly in favo(u)r of somehow sanitizing Technical English so as not to offend anybody accidentally somehow sees fit to use insulting language when addressing the group he disagrees with?

      There is a word for that, and I don't think it's going to become sanitized anytime soon.

      [0] If my use of the word "straight" in this context offends you, seek help,

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So let me get this straight[0] ...

        So you are unable to use synonyms?

        1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

          Re: So let me get this straight[0] ...

          Why should it be necessary to use synonyms in place of common terms, just because those terms happen to be perhaps, though often not at all, tangentially related to something you've chosen to be irked by?

    2. IGotOut Silver badge

      Gammon is offence to Jew and Muslims.

      Lets keep going.

    3. ChrisC Silver badge

      As someone who, on a daily basis, writes firmware and designs PCBs to make use of devices which have master/slave type connections, and who's read more datasheets for such devices over the years than I'd care to recall, I'd say it very much does affect how I do my job.

      As soon as some of those devices start to change how they refer to their connections, it means I now have to memorise another bit of terminology to go along with all of the other crap that currently fills the part of my brain that keeps track of all the technical details I need to remember to do my job effectively, in order that I can continue to interact with these devices successfully.

      And if, as is almost certain to happen, different device manufacturers decide to pick different alternatives to describe the same thing as has historically been described using the same terms by everyone, then the amount of new crap I have to memorise goes up even further, as does the risk of fucking up designs just because there's no longer any consensus on what stuff is called. It was bad enough when Atmel decided to refer to I2C as TWI just (IIRC) to avoid licencing fees, but if every manufacturer of SPI devices feels compelled to change master/slave to something else, without there being a single new pair of terms that is agreed on in advance for everyone to start using instead, then working out whether any two devices can be interconnected successfully if they're using different terms for the same thing is going to add an additional challenge to the design process that doesn't need to be there.

      For the stuff under my own control, once it's decided that we need to purge our designs of these terms, it means someone needs to spend time replacing these terms in the design data (carefully, so as not to inadvertently change something that shouldn't have been changed just because it happens to have been caught up in a simplistic keyword-match-like approach to the process), which is time that isn't being spent on them doing the work they'd normally have been doing. We can't simply wait for the design to become obsolete and replaced by a completely new thing where we could avoid using these terms from the outset, because the industry we work in has product lifespans which are somewhat longer than the typical consumer gizmo that'll be obsoleted within a year - I'm still maintaining the very first product I worked on when I started here 11 years ago...

      Now sure, this is a one-off cost per design, but it's still a cost that has to be borne by us without any discernable payback - as these terms are used by us only within the design files and don't appear anywhere in product literature, on PCB silkscreens or anywhere else that an end user would see them, the only benefit removing them would have is in our own satisfaction of knowing that all our design files were now badword-free. But then see above for a reason why this isn't necessarily a good thing from a technical perspective...

  16. Erix
    Devil

    RedHat

    Shouldn't Red Hat start by addressing the non-inclusive word "red" in their name as that is clearly offensive to the native American minority?

    1. Fr. Ted Crilly

      Re: RedHat

      Brown hat, well many Fedoras are brown no?

  17. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    Isn't it great to know that all the problems caused by racism, sexism and other prejudice have now been solved, and all that remains is to clean up the language.

  18. john 103

    Lefties

    As a lefty - I'm offended by such terms as sinister and adroit.

    I move that they be banned from English here and forthwith.

    While I'm at it I'm also offended by the term Right - this should be replaced with unwrong.

    1. TimMaher Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Lefties

      You missed out maladroit.

      There, FTFY. Or should that be LeFTFY?

      Either way, you get a pint, in a left handed glass ——————>

    2. Electronics'R'Us Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Lefties

      You left out the term gauche

      Have another pint :)

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Lefties

      I'd have thought a lefty would define Right as wrong. Left would be unwrong or maybe right.

    4. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Lefties

      Given the way politics have been going recently, I'd be inclined to define "right" as very wrong.

      I'm a lefty too, and I'm offended every time I try to use a pair of scissors or a tin opener. Well, not really, there's a lot of stuff far more important to worry about than how back to front it feels using a tin opener.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who are these peopel?..

    Just looked into the people behind this utterly stupid idea. Well I dont see one person I would actually hire for a development team. You know, to write software. In fact almost none have any actual software development background by the look of it. Actually doing real technical stuff.

    Looking at such "stellar" resumes at least two or three of them sound exactly like the back stabbing self aggrandizing careerists ( which we have all had the misfortune to meet at some time or other) that I would not believe the claims made for their professional experience. WTF is a "Distinguished Consulting Engineer"? At Cisco no less. Bullsh*t makey-up stuff.

    The more grandiose the pufferey in these career claims the less actual substance there is to their actual career accomplishments. I can speak from personal experience about several very high profile senior management types in the business, their claims about their early career, and what they actually did. Quite a contrast. Those who are actually very good technically dont do this stuff. Ever. No need.

    So what we have here is a bunch of no-talent nobodies trying some "look at me, look at me" act of narcissistic self publicity. A bunch of worthless t*ssers. Pure "B Ark" people.

    1. bin

      Re: Who are these peopel?..

      It's OK - you're among friends here.....don't be afraid of holding back!

      ..............though I suspect you're right!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Who are these peopel?..

        You should have read the unexpurgated version of the post. Now that was a real humdinger. Gratuitously offensive to sentient life forms on at least four planets..

    2. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Who are these peopel?..

      If like most, it will be the white middle class being offended on other people's behalf.

      1. Elledan Silver badge

        Re: Who are these peopel?..

        I'd say you're right. I do not recall any signs or demands during the BLM demonstrations this year for having words erased from the English language. Lots of demand for equal treatment of non-Caucasians, though, as well as the removal of statues glorifying the losing side of the US Civil War.

        How out of touch with reality does one have to be to think that changing technical jargon will affect the way US police treats non-Caucasians? What peer-reviewed studies are they referencing that they feel that it's so important?

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Who are these peopel?..

          Peer reviewed? That's an elitist concept long replaced by mass acclamation (for carefully select values of mass, of course).

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Who are these peopel?..

      I'm afraid RMS needs to accept a smidgeon of blame here. By introducing a political aspect into the idea of Free Software he left the door ajar and a whole mob has now walked through it. We need to establish once and for all the software development is a branch of engineering, not a branch of politics.

      1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

        Re: Who are these peopel?..

        I think he can be let off, given these people have marched right into the most non-political realms you can imagine and demanded everything there be changed to fit their whims. Everything is political to them, you see, so everything must conform to their political position, lest it be considered evil.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Who are these peopel?..

      WTF is a "Distinguished Consulting Engineer"?

      It's one they can distinguish from all the others who are indistinguishable.

  20. alain williams Silver badge

    What about non-English offensive words ?

    All the examples black/master/... that I have seen are English words. What if speakers of other languages complain about terms that offend someone in their language ? Presumably we will have to blacklist those words as well ... oh, errm, I mean add those words to a non-use list.

    The important thing is intent: the automotive engineer who, working on brakes, coined the terms: master cylinder, slave cylinder had no intention of alluding one man (sorry: person) being subservient to another.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: What about non-English offensive words ?

      "servo" has the identical meaning of "slave". It's also a more ancient word than "slave" for the same meaning, coming from Latin "servus/serva", which is very alike the proto-indoeuropean word.

    2. Electronics'R'Us Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: What about non-English offensive words ?

      Are we going to insist that countries or communities change their names as well?

      Montenegro comes to mind along with some others, such as Isla Negra.

      Will there have to be an alias in a database of countries to avoid these terrible things?

      </sarcasm>

  21. poohbear

    KISS

    What does KISS stand for now?

    1. ChrisC Silver badge

      Re: KISS

      Keeping Idioms Safe for Snowflakes?

    2. Ordinary Donkey

      Re: KISS

      We Avoid Verbose Environments.

  22. Fr. Ted Crilly
    Coat

    ok, so let Tarquin explain the problems...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ru-LYCOM2go

  23. JavaJester
    Stop

    Down the Newspeak Rabbit Hole We Go

    So will the Red-Black Tree become the Ruby-Obsidian tree? Because after all, in the world of the easily offended, colors like red, yellow, black, brown and white can't just be colors. They are "guilty by association", like the term master used by itself.

  24. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    What we see here is a minority of politically motivated people dictating to a multitude of technical people how to do their jobs. It sounds a lot like enslavement to me.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sticks and stones....

    How racist are these people, that when they see the word "blacklist" they think "black people are bad"?

    It's a load of bollocks. Changing words (especially those out of context) doesn't change history, or peoples current attitudes. No black person will feel safer because of it..... If anything, they'll probably just feel more patronised.

    This is just to make people feel better whilst not actually doing anything. It's brushing the real issues under the carpet. It's just whitewashing (sorry, I mean non-colour-specific-washing)

  26. heyrick Silver badge

    Unclear language?

    The terms "master" and "slave" have a very specific and clearly defined relationship to each other. I worry that whatever terms are devised to replace these sorts of things may be more ambiguous.

  27. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells

    As Samuel Johnson might once have uttered:

    Bollocks.

    1. poohbear

      What exactly do you have against breasts?

  28. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Slave vs Master aka rm * ... did that solve anything?

    The effect of banning these words is that in the future cultures will be able to say that slavery never existed, that's not a word. Saying that words are bad and banning them fixes nothing, we need to change our actions and admit that it was bad, not just deleting our stupidity.

    1. alain williams Silver badge

      Re: Slave vs Master aka rm * ... did that solve anything?

      Once 'master' 'slave' loose their meaning as people do not understand them, whatever new words to describe the relationship (eg 'maker' 'doer') will have to be applied to human relationships so that kids can understand history books.

      At that point there will be a brouhaha and 'maker' 'doer' will be banned because some people do not like them.

      Changing the words that we use is, ultimately, futile.

  29. Long John Silver
    Pirate

    Unbounded idiocy?

    Using the skewed logic of the motley band containing divers people extolling the virtues of absolute 'non-offence' in midst of 'diversity' - i.e. the PC, 'gender identity' warriors, feminists, BLM enthusiasts, LGBQTxyz alphabet fetishists, and sundry others - I anticipate demands for current and for newly produced software to be boycotted if its underlying code has not properly been Bowdlerised. Knock on effects to books about coding and training manuals will result in a mass burning; as on all such occasions, the woefully stupid and ignorant, these burdened by imaginary grievances and overweening sense of entitlement, shall dance with glee around bonfires.

    Perhaps people who code, regardless of their personal proclivities, are made of sterner stuff than the tiny, yet noisy, band of troublesome fools?

  30. desht

    I can't quite decide which is funnier here, the fools trying to push these silly changes, or the gammon snowflakes exploding in predictable fury. I just wish there was a popcorn icon I could use.

    1. jake Silver badge

      We've already done that one, desht.

      Do try to keep up, there's a good chap.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Here's my Word replacement list

    1. vi.

    2. Xemacs.

    3. Pen and paper.

    4. Writing in chalk dust on a kitten's back.

    5. Firing 500 tonne pink paint orbs at the moon to do a dot matrix sort of thing on its surface, and reading that back with a telescope.

    6. Memorising what I wanted to write down.

    7. ed.

    8. Windows Notepad.

    I hate Word.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Here's my Word replacement list

      In order to replace Word, I'd first have to start using it.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Here's my Word replacement list

        And this, Jake is where you differ from those pushing this sort of agenda. They don't have to use technical terminology to hate it.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Here's my Word replacement list

          Note that I know Word quite well. I've even taken courses on it over the years. One can't properly advise others to avoid a product unless you understand it and it's competition thoroughly.

          But that doesn't mean that I use it. Familiarity truly breeds contempt in this case.

  32. Steve Evans

    Oh fsck off

    Anyone that finds words in a technical environment "harmful" needs help from an entirely different profession!

    What next? People with erectile disfunction complaining about the term "floppy disk"?

    Words have context, if you ignore that and just look for offence, then *you* are the problem.

    Data communication systems often have a master and a slave, oh no, you can't say that, it's "offensive"... Well I'm English, and the English (along with others) were kidnapped and sold into slavery by the Barbary pirates, so I now officially claim them as "our words" and give everyone in IT a free pass... Now fsck off!

    1. Bitsminer Bronze badge

      Re: Oh fsck off

      What next? People with erectile disfunction complaining about the term "floppy disk"?

      I have it on (unattributable) authority that some locations on this planet refer to 3.5 inch portable diskettes as "stiffies". Because they are not "floppy".

      One more for The List.

      1. Steve Evans

        Re: Oh fsck off

        If I had 3.5 inches, I wouldn't be bragging about that being a stiffy!

        1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

          Re: Oh fsck off

          I have an 8 inch floppy- it's never been stiff to the best of my knowledge

  33. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Facepalm

    I'm screwed

    The docs for the robot/machine interfaces are full of master and slave references, with the robots being the slaves that have to obey the masters commands and then tell them when they've finished.

    But what about distributed systems, where you have 'client' and 'server' , clearly that puts the server in a subordinate position to the client when the system is equally dependent on the equal functioning of both systems.

    I think we should take the pTerry solution* of promoting these people demanding this change to vice executives in charge of equality and charging them with a full on wide ranging investigation into the replacement of words with other words, this task will take all of their time and involve high level serious discussions about everything to do with the english language and removing all offensive terms. this task will take approx 224 yrs 6 months by which time the english language will have evolved into something completely different.

    *used in the book 'Eric' to get rid of the demon king...

    1. Carpet Deal 'em
      Alert

      Re: I'm screwed

      You brought up a point so many people have missed:"robot" comes from the Czech word for serfdom and is therefore wholly unacceptable to describe Mechanical Americans!

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    These people failed before they even began...

    I will gladly take the flack for agreeing that Master/Slave should be retired along with the hardware that uses the term. It's a PITA, and shouldn't be rushed, but it's a direct callback to literal slavery. Their list of suggested replacements has only 3 entries, one of which is for the term master, in the absence of any reference to a slave, or a controller/subordinate relationship. They even admit there is no rational or linguistic basis beyond "guilt by association" which they literally list as their only basis for the change.

    That is not a sound reason to change the term master, it's a good reason NOT to change it. It's also a great reason to reject this group and their efforts entirely, and give to work to more rational minds. People who believe in banning language based on mere association should not have any part of the decision making process.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: These people failed before they even began...

      Perhaps we could use the terminology Lord of the manor/serf. Or possibly raise the status of the second to villein.

    2. xanda
      Headmaster

      Re: These people failed before they even began...

      "...it's a direct callback to literal slavery..."

      Perhaps.

      But then again perhaps not.

      It's hard to imagine that the engineers who coined the term into use really were motivated to impress said situation into the minds of their fellow colleagues - or anyone else for that matter.

      It follows then that what they were trying to achieve is the notion of a functional relationship as it related to the problem at hand, and so for that reason it is in essence a utilitarian and thus neutral, parlance.

      The same cannot be said though for the term 'debugging' as this clearly demonstrates speciesism in its most blatant form.

      Yours truly,

      Z-4195

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: These people failed before they even began...

        The same cannot be said though for the term 'debugging' as this clearly demonstrates speciesism in its most blatant form.

        Oh, bugger

      2. tip pc Silver badge

        Re: These people failed before they even began...

        "The same cannot be said though for the term 'debugging' as this clearly demonstrates speciesism in its most blatant form."

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debugging#Origin_of_the_term

        take your pick from those on wikipedia but none seem to be "speciesism" or relate to condemning people to servitude.

  35. Yes Me Silver badge

    Very dark grey and very pale grey

    "The Initiative lists related projects from the Internet Engineering Task Force ... "

    No. The IETF doesn't have a "project" and the draft they cite is a personal contribution that has been widely criticised. That github repo is basically a scribbling pad with no status for the moment.

    That's not to say the IETF plans to increase the use of offensive or exclusionary language. But the way an ongoing discussion is misleadingly cited as a "related project" is tendentious to say the least. To say that in a more dark grey and pale grey way, it's a lie.

  36. Cincinnataroo

    A solution

    Hey we have all these folk getting upset by the languages they speak. (I guess that if you took a dictionary you could concoct a way of being offended by most of the words in there. If you really tried all of them?)

    Why don't we help these people a bit. When they feel offended speak up, tell us, maybe tattoo something on their own foreheads. We can then give them options.

    * Go to a place that cares

    * Be deprived of sight

    * Be deprived of hearing

    * Be deprived of speach

    * Various combinations of the above

    Make sure the laws are such that others can do the honours should they not be able.

  37. Andrew Williams

    Pay me to be their censor

    Pay me a lot.

  38. Ken Y-N
    Facepalm

    I couldn't help noticing the second-worst project for "whitelist" is called "cockpit", which surely is a phallic-centric view of who is qualified to operate machinery. I demand my right to be offended!

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Unhappy

      I'm offended by your demand to be offended

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a trap

    This initiative is a dangerous trap. If you apologise with words or actions, then you accept guilt. Nobody actually believes it when an organisation settles a compensation claim while continuing to deny liability. Confessing to the charge that the disputed terms endorse slavery could lead to class actions for damages against entire industries. Lawyers are already sniffing around organisations that historically have been connected with slavery, with an eye to claims. Don't imagine it that couldn't happen - postmodernism is not based on on reason or being reasonable. The path to hell is paved with good intentions.

  40. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fuck this

      4/20 is also the birthday of Napoleon III, George Takei and Carmen Electra. Perhaps they are celebrating those instead?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 420

      You really don't know that's a slang term for weed in the US!?

  41. Brad16800

    Do we need to also release the "slave" devices and give them the same rights as their masters as well?

    Actually had a thought, what about if we just reversed the terminology. Give the slave names to the previous masters and the masters can have a turn being under their oppressive grip!

    Also does this mean old hardware will need to be updated? I've got a SAS card that's 20 or so years old with master and slave. How far back are we going on renaming?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You jest

      However, I'm sure there's an adage that slaves don't want to be free, they want to be slave owners.

      As pointed out elsewhere above, North and Eastern Europeans were slaves long before, and for much longer than African Americans.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One thing the modern world has forgotten, your feelings don't matter in the world at large. If you're so fragile that a word used to represent someone/people who died before you were born upsets you that much, you have some serious mental health issues.

    Help exists out there, I know, I've used it when I wasn't my strongest. Go well.

    1. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
      Pint

      Truly

      Hope all is well or at least better for you now.

  43. Robert Brockway

    On their website I found this gem:

    "Slavery is a tradition barely 3 generations abolished"

    Well, there's a cultural bias if ever I've seen one. Slavery is alive and well in 2020. The last country to actually make it illegal only did so a few years ago. There are more people enslaved on Earth right now than at any point in human history. Maybe the IETF and these other organisations should get a clue about the present day and history before lecturing others.

    https://inclusivenaming.org/language/word-list/

  44. mego

    I seem to recall saying this would happen.

    Actually, exactly this. Unholy Cthulhu, it's scary when I'm right.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ridiculous

    This is getting stupid. I notice that there are still references to "Black Friday". Perhaps they should rename it "Tinted Friday".

  46. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
    Thumb Up

    Smug title

    Dear All those people

    I refer you to the reply given in Arkell v Pressdram (1971)

    Thank you.

    Concerned from Oz

  47. hayzoos

    We must go on the offensive

    In arguments we should point out every possible offence of the very words they are using to justify this effort. Every word can be offensive, some are just a little tougher to spin. We should endeavour to begin using their proposed replacement words in an offensive fashion, poison all words. I think we can poison faster than they can complete even a satisfying change.

    I wonder how many of these people of tenuous membrane organ hold MBAs.

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