Microsoft-owned GitHub is dropping coding terms like 'master' and 'slave'

GitHub CEO Nat FriedmanGitHub
  • GitHub, the world's largest site for hosting open-source software, is working to replace the terms "master" and "slave" in code, as the Black Lives Matter movement continues to have a widespread ripple effect.
  • In programming speak, "master" refers to the main version of code that controls the "slaves," or the replicas.
  • Software companies had already been working to drop such references, but worldwide demonstrations organized to protest systemic racism have introduced a newfound sense of urgency.

The Microsoft-owned coding site GitHub is dropping the term "master" from its systems as the Black Lives Matter movement continues to hold companies accountable.

According to BBC, GitHub CEO Nat Friedman said the company — which is used by 50 million developers — is changing the term to a neutral one. In programming speak, "master" refers to the main version of code that controls other processes, which are known as slaves. Replacements could be "main" for "master" or "replica" for "slave."

As the BBC notes, news of GitHub's change came on Twitter when Friedman replied to Google Chrome developer Una Kravets, who suggested it.Advertisement

Friedman replied, "It's a great idea and we are already working on this!"

Software companies have been working to distance themselves from such references for years now, but the worldwide protests being held in response to police brutality and systemic racism have ushered in a fresh sense of urgency.

Tech companies especially have long struggled to foster diverse workforces and cultures, a problem that holding onto such terms could exacerbate, as Telegraph notes.
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"If it makes even one person feel less isolated and uncomfortable, why not make the change?" Kravets wrote on Twitter. "The tech community is already lacking black and latinx voices."

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