Change of computing terms?

ZDnet reports at https://www.zdnet.com/article/github-to-replace-master-with-alternative-term-to-avoid-slavery-references/ that a number of people and companies plan to drop terms like “master” and “slave” for alternatives like “main/default/primary” and “secondary;” but also terms like “blacklist” and “whitelist” for “allow list” and “deny/exclude list.”

ZDNet found that projects like the OpenSSL encryption software library, automation software Ansible, Microsoft’s PowerShell scripting language, the P5.js JavaScript library, and many others are looking at changing the name of their default source code repos, in a bid to stamp out racially-charged and slavery-related terms.

4 Comments

  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    A Resolution to Redefine SPI Pin Names
    https://www.oshwa.org/2020/06/29/a-resolution-to-redefine-spi-pin-names

    By‌ ‌way‌ ‌of‌ ‌example,‌ ‌the‌ ‌SPI‌ ‌(Serial‌ ‌Peripheral‌ ‌Interface)‌ ‌protocol‌ ‌specifies‌ ‌logic‌ ‌signals‌ ‌with‌ ‌names‌ ‌including‌ ‌MOSI‌ ‌(Master‌ ‌Output‌ ‌Slave‌ ‌Input),‌ ‌MISO‌ ‌(Master‌ ‌Input‌ ‌Slave‌ ‌Output),‌ ‌and‌ ‌SS‌ ‌(Slave‌ ‌Select).‌ ‌

    ‌Any‌ ‌number‌ ‌of‌ ‌individuals‌ ‌and‌ ‌organizations‌ ‌have‌ ‌already‌ ‌adopted‌ ‌alternative‌ ‌nomenclature,‌ ‌but‌ ‌we‌ ‌as‌ ‌a‌ ‌community‌ ‌have‌ ‌thus‌ ‌far‌ ‌failed‌ ‌to‌ ‌take‌ ‌the‌ ‌collective‌ ‌action‌ ‌necessary‌ ‌to‌ ‌establish‌ ‌a‌ ‌new‌ ‌convention‌ ‌and‌ ‌eliminate‌ ‌these‌ ‌legacy‌ ‌names‌ ‌from‌ ‌common‌ ‌use.‌ ‌ ‌

    Effective‌ ‌immediately,‌ ‌we‌ ‌call‌ ‌upon‌ ‌hardware‌ ‌and‌ ‌software‌ ‌developers‌ ‌to‌ ‌fully‌ ‌and‌ ‌widely‌ ‌adopt‌ ‌the‌ ‌‌Resolution‌ ‌to‌ ‌Redefine‌ ‌SPI‌ ‌Pin‌ ‌Names‌.‌ ‌While‌ ‌acknowledging‌ ‌that‌ ‌change‌ ‌has‌ ‌its‌ ‌costs,‌ ‌there‌ ‌is‌ ‌no‌ ‌excuse‌ ‌for‌ ‌any‌ ‌member‌ ‌of‌ ‌our‌ ‌community‌ ‌or‌ ‌industries‌ ‌to‌ ‌continue‌ ‌to‌ ‌reference‌ ‌“Master”‌ ‌and‌ ‌“Slave”‌ ‌as‌ ‌technical‌ ‌terms‌ ‌going‌ ‌forward.‌

    https://www.oshwa.org/a-resolution-to-redefine-spi-signal-names

    Reply
  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    “These new guidelines for Linux kernel developers call for initially avoiding words including “slave” and “blacklist” to instead use words like subordinate, replica, follower, performer, blocklist, or denylist. ”

    Nerds gonna be big mad

    https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Linux-Inclusive-Terminology

    Reply
  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Infosec community disagrees with changing ‘black hat’ term due to racial stereotyping
    https://www.zdnet.com/article/infosec-community-disagrees-with-changing-black-hat-term-due-to-racial-stereotyping/

    A Google security researcher withdrew from the Black Hat security conference and asked the community to stop using the ‘black hat’ term.

    The information security (infosec) community has angrily reacted today to calls to abandon the use of the ‘black hat’ and ‘white hat’ terms, citing that the two, and especially ‘black hat,’ have nothing to do with racial stereotyping.

    Discussions about the topic started late last night after David Kleidermacher, VP of Engineering at Google, and in charge of Android Security and the Google Play Store, withdrew from a scheduled talk he was set to give in August at the Black Hat USA 2020 security conference.

    In his withdrawal announcement, Kleidermacher asked the infosec industry to consider replacing terms like black hat, white hat, and man-in-the-middle with neutral alternatives.

    While a part of the infosec community agreed with Kledermacher, the vast majority did not, and called it virtue signaling taken to the extreme.

    Most security researchers pointed to the fact that the terms had nothing to do with racism or skin color, and had their origins in classic western movies, where the villain usually wore a black hat, while the good guy wore a white hat.

    Others pointed to the dualism between black and white as representing evil and good, concepts that have been around since the dawn of civilizations, long before racial divides even existed between humans.

    Companies like Twitter, GitHub, Microsoft, LinkedIn, Google, Ansible, and others committed to changing technical language in their products and infrastructure to remove terms like master, slave, blacklist, whitelist, and others.

    But these efforts to move away from offensive terms like master, slave, blacklist, whitelist started even before the Black Lives Matter protests.

    Companies and open-source projects like Drupal, Python, PostgreSQL, and Redis had removed offensive terms years before, some as early as the late 2000s.

    In May 2020, even the UK government’s cyber-security agency, the NCSC, announced it would stop using “whitelist” and “blacklist” due to stigma and racial stereotyping surrounding the two terms.

    The trend of cleaning tech language was well underway, but the Black Lives Matter protests gave it a boost and helped it gain mainstream media attention and more backing.

    However, the infosec community is not willing to accept change at this moment for terms it doesn’t see as offensive, and chances are the terms are here to stay.

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