OpenZFS removed offensive terminology from its code


On Wednesday evening, ZFS founding developer Matthew Ahrens submitted what should have been a simple, non-controversial pull request to the OpenZFS project: wherever possible without causing technical issues, the patch removed references to "slaves" and replaced them with "dependents."

This patch in question doesn't change the way the code functions—it simply changes variable names in a way that brings them in conformance with Linux upstream device-mapper terminology, in 48 total lines of code (42 removed and 48 added; with one comment block expanded slightly to be more descriptive).

But this being the Internet, unfortunately, outraged naysayers descended on the pull request, and the comments were quickly closed to non-contributors. I first became aware of this as the moderator of the r/zfs subreddit where the overflow spilled once comments on the PR itself were no longer possible.

I work with databases every single day. Many of them involve replication of some sort. I have refused to call servers “master” or “slave” since the 90s because they’re such awful words. Instead it has primarily been Primary/Secondary for MySQL/PostgreSQL and Publisher/Subscriber for SQL Server.

The people who have a problem with the language change are likely the same people that take phone calls in movie theatres via speakerphone 🙄

Also, don’t read the comments to the article. Many are not worth the bits they’re encoded with.