Some of the software vendors that have made the move to remove questionable syntaxes or labels from their platform in the past few days includes OpenZFS and Github.
OpenZFS is an open-source storage platform that encompasses the functionality of traditional file systems and volume manager. The open project team has accepted the patch which will have the usage of “slave” replaced with “dependent” or “dep” throughout its code and documentation.
The call for this change, tagged “Remove unnecessary references to slavery” was made by Matt Ahrens, Software Engineer and Co-founder of the enterprise grade file system ZFS. “The horrible effects of human slavery continue to impact society. The casual use of the term ‘slave’ in computer software is an unnecessary reference to a painful human experience,” said Ahrens.
However, Ahrens noted that references to /sys/class/block/$dev/slaves remain because this directory name is determined by the Linux kernel, and working around it “unfortunately” requires elevated privileges.
GitHub chief executive officer Nat Friedman, has also confirmed that the Microsoft-owned repository hosting service is now working to drop the term “master” as the default branch name from GitHub in response to the ongoing protest against racism.
This decisions have not pulled through without lots of criticism, as some developers or community members claim that the usage of terms such as “master” has nothing to do with the current trend of racism, adding that this term could also mean a rank in profession or academics.
A tougher discussion on the issue is happening on the Linux kernel mailing list while considering a proposal to replace the terms “blacklist” and “whitelist” with “blocklist” and “allowlist”. Point raised include the ambiguity of “blocklist” which could mean a list of block objects and lead to technical issues. The term “denylist” was further suggested to replace blacklist.