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Use of conscious language
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As part of inclusive efforts [1], we try to eliminate particular terms such as "master"/"slave", "whitelist"/"blacklist" from the software we are using. I understand this is not going to be high-priority task and we will not be able to tackle it in all cases (for example past changelogs), but I would like at least to open the discussion, submit first patches and discuss if you are willing to accept such changes.


  • scd/ -- all references in comments use "master file", which has quite non-conflicting synonym "root directory" in the documentation I found so far.
  • tools/gpg-pair-tool.c -- there is "(shared) master secret", which I do not have better term for. In the code, the master or master_secret could be replaced with secret in most places.
  • doc/ -- master password is used couple of times. Could we use "primary" or "main" here?
  • usage of master branch (also in some scripts/comments is the last thing, but I do not think it worth pursuing this, even though some projects already changed the branch manes to main, causing more or less confusion.
  • Proposed patch:


  • doc/gcrypt.texi -- "master copy". I would suggest a use of "primary copy" here.
  • -- needless word "blacklist can be replaced with "disable" or similar.
  • others are mostly links to the master branch in other repositories which we can not simply avoid
  • Proposed patch:

In other projects, I did not find anything that could be addressed.


Event Timeline

werner triaged this task as Wishlist priority.Jul 7 2021, 5:48 PM
werner edited projects, added Feature Request, Won't Fix; removed Bug Report.
werner added a subscriber: werner.

Sorry, this is not acceptable to me. <rant>You don't change racism by avoid words which are may be connected to racism. Master is a term used for example to indicate that a person is proficient in her profession. Slave is (in theory) a historic term to describe, well slaves. That is humans who are non-free and are not allowed to control their lives - like the majority of humans these days - they are just called different and the methods of suppression are different than in the past. In fact a Roman slave (but not a medieval bondsman) had well defined and esteemed rights not something the majority of US citizen with a dark skin has in practice. Term abolished, racism abolished, works as good as freeing the US slaves in the 1856, the 1960, or still today. It did not work. Mr. Kings hope has not yet realized itself and is now maybe farther away than we all had hoped in the second half of the last century. Don't cover facts by changing words used in a very different context.</rant>

There is no point in questioning whether a couple of words change racism or any other human problems of these days. It will not.

This is about a community. As I see you do not have any issue with these terms. I am not personally affected by these terms either, but this might not be a case for others coming from different backgrounds. Putting aside the harder-to-change phrases, there are still couple of places where the use of different words would not hurt and might make the project more welcoming and comfortable for these people.