Computer programming language Python is set to change the well established “master” and “slave” terminology in its documentation and code to appease activists who claim the terms are offensive.
According to the Register, Python developer Victor Stinner “published four pull requests seeking to change ‘master’ and ‘slave’ in Python documentation and code to terms like ‘parent,’ ‘worker,’ or something similarly anodyne.”
Stinner cited “diversity reasons,” and declared, “it would be nice to try to avoid ‘master’ and ‘slave’ terminology which can be associated to slavery.”
Following a heated debate between those in favor of changing the terminology and those who argued that it had nothing to do with human slavery, Python creator Guido van Rossum announced that the changes would be made.
“I’m closing this now… Three out of four of Victor’s [pull requests] have been merged. The fourth one should not be merged because it reflects the underlying terminology of UNIX ptys,” he proclaimed. “There’s a remaining quibble about ‘pliant children’ -> ‘helpers’ but that can be dealt with as a follow-up [pull request] without keeping this discussion open.”
Python is not the first to make the change, with Microsoft, IBM, Amazon Web Services, Django, Drupal, and Engine Yard also using different terminology to avoid causing offense.
Master and slave terminology is common throughout technology, for example, camera flashes — the terms refer to the operation of technology independently or at the direction of another system and has no connection to slavery.