Proposal: Replace all references to master/slave in GNOME modules

Hi all,

I'd like to formally propose as a GNOME Goal that GNOME modules replace references to the terms "master" and "slave". This is a worthwhile thing to do for social inclusiveness[0]. Many FOSS and non-FOSS projects, including Django[1], Python[2], and Rust[3] and the ISC[4]) have already implemented similar programmes and it would be good for GNOME to do so also. The scope would be to replace occurrences of the terms appearing in the user interface, web sites, documentation, APIs (except as deprecated symbols), and git repositories - essentially wherever a person using or developing software for GNOME may reasonably encounter them.

By way of background, I recently did just this for Geary[5] after a request via private communication. The work was essentially trivial, and it has been a relatively painless transition. A number of people have positively commented on the change, and no one has objected to the UI or API changes, however some feedback has been received about renaming the mainline branch, broadly falling into essentially three categories: 1) It doesn't matter, 2) it's inconvenient, and 3) it should be done project-wide, not piecemeal.

To respond to that feedback, which I imagine will also be raised for this proposal, I'd suggest that (1) is clearly not the case - yes it doesn't matter to many people, but it does matter to some, and that's the whole point of making a project more socially inclusive - to make it better for everyone. The issue raised by (2) is not a new problem - we already have to remember project names, branch names, file names, symbol names, and so on. To make that easier we have tooling support (auto-completion in both GUIs and TUIs, the ability to set things as defaults, code symbol lookup, etc.). Further, disruption can be minimised by carefully choosing replacement names. I deliberately chose "mainline" for Geary's mainline branch name because it has the same auto-complete prefix as "master", for example. Want to check out the mainline branch? Just type "git co m<TAB>", just like you always have. Lastly, if adopted project-wide, then we'd all get used to the new names rather quicky. Finally, to respond to (3) I am proposing it project-wide now.

To summarise, let's replace the use of these deprecated terms in our project as a step towards making GNOME a project that everyone wants to use and develop for. Who's in?


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⊨ Michael Gratton, Percept Wrangler.
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