Bonum Certa Men Certa

IBM Fought for 'Master Race' and Now It's Banning the Word 'Master'

We need to go back in time to understand why many people are so angry

GitHub to replace master with main starting in October: What developers need to do now



Summary: A lot of the current push to ban the word "master" came from Red Hat (soon IBM, helped by Intel and Microsoft for the most part); we take a hard look at IBM's history to better understand the incredible double standards and what the real motivations might be

THE 'international bullshit machine' (IBM) is telling us that the world's problems boil down to something like a Git branch being called "master". That's easily debunkable. We wrote about it many times before and we explained why it's a pretty big deal.



“Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners,” George Carlin once said. This whole abolition of master, slave terms (not practice) seems to have been started by Red Hat (soon IBM because of the imminent takeover), at least in this earlier case if not earliest (2 years ago). We're not aware of the debate going further back than this and it was started by a Red Hat employee. "For diversity reasons," he asserted, "it would be nice to try to avoid "master" and "slave" terminology which can be associated to slavery." Notice the references there (GitHub, already Microsoft's on paper).

IBM cardNow read the comments from fellow developers. We'll quote a few (this is from 2 years ago, before people became reluctant/afraid to publicly object). "I'm a little surprised by this," said an early comment (on the bug tracker). "It's not like slavery was acceptable when these computer science terms were coined and it's only comparatively recently that they've gone out of fashion. On the other hand, there are some areas in computer software where "master" and "slave" are the exact technical terms (e.g. IDE), and avoiding them would lead to confusion. Of the four citations you reference, one of them is a PR for Django, and three of them say "see the Django PR". The Django PR is an unreadable infinitely-long page of miserable arguing. So the context doesn't help much. Have there been any actual complaints? Or is this an attempt to solve a problem that doesn't really exist?"

Early debates included also this: "As a counter-example: A quick grep finds 555 occurrences of the word "kill" in CPython master. Everybody knows killing is bad and using the term might upset certain people. Yet I would not support expunging the word "kill" from Python."

Another one: "I'm not super-excited by the idea that Python has to change its behavior based on secret comments. Python has traditionally had a very open governance model where all discussions happen in public."

This was weeks after the creator of Python surprisingly resigned. We cannot prove there's a connection between those two events (resignation and controversy/commotion).

"To me," said another person, "there is nothing wrong with the word 'master', as such. I mastered Python to become a master of Python. [...] Like Larry, I object to action based on hidden evidence."

"The term "master" has so many positive connotations that I think it is misguided to effectively eliminate it from the current English language," another developer noted.

"In fact," said another developer, "in the BDSM subcultures, "master/slave" can have *positive* connotations. You want to support diversity, then why are you discriminating against that subculture?"

Another comment: "Talking about diversity: my wife is of a nationality that historically were often stolen to be slave [...] Both of us are angered by this attack on our linguistic culture. Stop trying to sanitize and infantalize language."

Also note: "The discussion under GH PRs [Microsoft GitHub] is now censored. What will be the next level?"

That was after Microsoft bought GitHub, at least on paper. No discussion allowed. The debate was secret.

Wikipedia's article on this very subject states upfront (at the top): "This article may be unbalanced towards certain viewpoints."

We know who's good at gaming Wikipedia. Some people receive a salary to do it. Microsoft even got caught doing this, infuriating Wikipedia's co-founder.

"IMO," said another person, "the problem isn't the master/slave terminology itself but the way how the changes were introduced (no discussion) and the justification ("diversity reasons"???)"

Notice this other ticket, also citing GitHub extensively:

It has come to my attention that CPython's source code contains problematic ableist/saneist terms and/or pejoratives, namely

sanity check 144 silly 26 insane 13 crazy 13 stupid 6 lame 2 lunatic 1

Some of those slipped into the documentation. In an attempt to make Python community more inclusive and welcoming, we should clean up these usages and replace them with something neutral (where applicable). Unfortunately, to this day many developers deem such efforts as "trolling", so please note that the precedent has already been set by many major projects. Here're just a few:

https://github.com/unpkg/unpkg.com/pull/81 https://github.com/reduxjs/redux/pull/2335 https://github.com/rtfd/readthedocs.org/pull/3752 https://github.com/krzysztofzablocki/Sourcery/issues/2 https://github.com/google/xi-editor/pull/126

Other resources:

https://english.stackexchange.com/q/282282 http://isthisableism.tumblr.com/sluralternatives

The goal of this issue is not to stir up arguments, but to figure out the alternatives and ways to replace those problematic terms.


So they're starting to take control of language further and further. Even a word like "crazy" (or "lame") is going to become a Code of Conduct (CoC) violation of some kind? Where does this go? Where might it end?

"I find this nonsensical and I'm very disappointed that this ideological nonsense is infecting Python," said another comment.

Guido van Rossum himself wrote (weeks earlier): "Now that PEP 572 is done, I don't ever want to have to fight so hard for a PEP and find that so many people despise my decisions."

To CoC antagonists he wrote: "your only option might be to leave this group voluntarily. Perhaps there are issues to decide like when should someone be kicked out (this could be banning people from python-dev or python-ideas too, since those are also covered by the CoC)."

This poses a potential danger to people like Linus Torvalds inside the Linux Foundation, for reasons we covered before [1, 2]. Language control is a slippery slope which overlooks or distracts from the vastly bigger problems.

I've always wondered about the timing of Guido van Rossum's sudden resignation (unscheduled, unplanned, no succession in place), seeing pointless controversies being floated at the time. As Daniel Pocock put it quite recently: "It is permissible for leaders to write nasty things about volunteers but it is not permissible for volunteers to write things about the leaders."

Now, going back to IBM, it was its initiative initially (or Red Hat's). IBM keeps pushing this elimination of words, even by sending PR people to me, urging yours truly to suit their nonsensical narrative.

Well, IBM wants us to think that it's against "masters". But its history tells an entirely different story. Not only is IBM a deeply racist company; historically it profited a lot from the "master race" agenda, which involved not only discrimination but incarceration/incineration of people of the 'wrong' race.

From the full book which contradicts this hypocritical narrative, War Against The Weak:

IBM eugenics p34
page 34



IBM eugenics p36-37
pp. 36-37



IBM eugenics p54
page 54



IBM eugenics p803-807
pp. 803-807



IBM eugenics p852-856
pp. 852-856



IBM eugenics p927
page 927



IBM eugenics p1051-1052
pp. 1051-2



IBM eugenics p1172
page 1172



IBM eugenics p1613-1614
pp. 1613-14



So that's IBM. How very tolerant a company. IBM knew exactly what it was doing all along. It only stopped when it became a PR embarrassment for Mr. Watson and his associates, after receiving a Nazi medal and meeting Mr. Hitler himself in person.

Recent Techrights' Posts

[Teaser] Freenode LTD: What Happened
Upcoming series based on insiders' account with evidence
Links 15/04/2024: Signs of Desperation at Microsoft and Tesla Employees Brace for Mass Layoffs (Update: Yes, Over 10% at Tesla Laid Off)
Links for the day
Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) Does Not Wish to Become an Instrument of Cost-Free Harassment or 'Cheap Revenge', It Says "Justice is Not Free. Quite the Contrary. Justice is Expensive."
Long story short, there is no lawsuit, there is a just a hateful, lying idiot abusing "the system" (which this idiot rejects entirely)
 
New Video of Richard Stallman's Talk in Italy (Delivered a Week Ago)
a working copy of the video
Microsoft Windows Falling to New Lows in the United Kingdom and Worldwide
What's noteworthy here is that there's no sign at all of a Windows rebound
[Meme] Quantity of European Patents
they've rigged the system to make more money
Why do free software organizations eliminate community representatives?
Reprinted with permission from the Free Software Fellowship
Upcoming Themes and Articles in Techrights
we expect to have already caught up with most of the administrivia and hopefully we'll be back to the prior pace some time later this week
Matthias Kirschner & FSFE People Trafficking, coercion of volunteers
Reprinted with permission from the Free Software Fellowship
Gemini Links 15/04/2024: Profectus Alpha 0.4 and RPG of One Capsule Progress
Links for the day
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Sunday, April 14, 2024
IRC logs for Sunday, April 14, 2024
Oceania: GNU/Linux Measured at Lower Than the International Average (4% or 7% Including ChromeOS)
statCounter's data
Achieving Objectives
The 'suits' and their vocabulary can be overcome when their deceit is widely deciphered:
Mozilla Has Turned Firefox Into OSPS Consistent With "Attestation" Objectives
Open Source Proprietary Software
100 years of Hitler & psychological experiments on volunteers
Reprinted with permission from the Free Software Fellowship
Taliban, the Free and Open Source Software Community Team of Afghanistan
Reprinted with permission from the Free Software Fellowship
Links 14/04/2024: Software Needed for Work and Issues in Brazil
Links for the day
Gemini Links 14/04/2024: OFFLFIRSOCH and Gemtext Specification 0.24.0
Links for the day
Links 14/04/2024: Tesla and OpenAI (Microsoft) Layoffs Floated in the Media
Links for the day
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Saturday, April 13, 2024
IRC logs for Saturday, April 13, 2024
Gemini Links 13/04/2024: SEO Spam and ‘Broadband Nutrition Label’
Links for the day
Gemini Links 13/04/2024: GmCapsule 0.7 Released
Links for the day
Links 13/04/2024: Whistleblowers, OpenAI and Microsoft Leakers
Links for the day
'Our' Technology Inside the Home is Becoming Less Reliable and It Implements the Vision of Orwell's '1984' (Microphones and Cameras Inside Almost Every Room)
Technology controlled by who exactly?
Over at Tux Machines...
GNU/Linux news for the past day
IRC Proceedings: Friday, April 12, 2024
IRC logs for Friday, April 12, 2024
Google, FSFE & Child labor
Reprinted with permission from the Free Software Fellowship
Links 13/04/2024: Huawei and Loongson PCs, IBM Layoffs
Links for the day
Gemini Links 13/04/2024: Specification Changes and Metaverse Newbie
Links for the day