Some days ago Linux kernel developers received a proposal in which It is proposed that the Linux Kernel handle a suitable language and terminology and socially responsible with the problems that are currently coming. For this, a document was prepared in which the use of inclusive terminology is prescribed in the kernel. For identifiers used in the kernel, proposes to abandon the use of words like 'slave' and 'black list'.
Instead, the recommendation is made to replace the word slave with secondary, subordinate, replica, responder, follower, proxy and interpreter, and blacklist with a blocking list or deny list (secondary, subordinate, replica, responder, follower, proxy & performer, blocklist & denylist)
Recommendations apply to new code added to the kernel, but in the long term, removal of existing code is not excluded of the use of these terms.
At the same time, to avoid compatibility violations, an exception is provided for the issued API for user space, as well as for protocols and definitions of hardware components already implemented, whose specifications require the use of these terms.
When creating implementations based on new specifications, it is recommended, where possible, to align the terminology of the specification with the standard coding for the Linux kernel.
Recent events have prompted a Linux position statement on inclusive terminology. Since Linux maintains a coding style and its own idiomatic set of terminology, here is a proposal to answer the call to replace the non-inclusive terminology.
The document was proposed by three members from the Linux Foundation technical council:
- Dan Williams (developer of NetworkManager, drivers for wireless devices and nvdimm)
- Greg Kroah-Hartman, responsible for maintaining a stable branch of the Linux kernel, it is the main contributor to the Linux USB kernel subsystems, driver kernel)
- Chris Mason (creator and chief architect of the Btrfs file system).
Also welcomed by the Tech Council members were Cook Kees (former sysadmin kernel.org chief and Ubuntu Security Team leader, responsible for promoting major Linux kernel active protection technologies) and Olaf Johansson (working for support ARM architecture in kernel) From other well-known developers, they subscribed to the document David Airlie, maintainer of the DRM subsystem and Randy Dunlap
Linux inclusive kernel terminology
The Linux kernel is a global software project and in 2020 there was a global calculation of race relations that caused many organizations to re-evaluate their policies and practices regarding the inclusion of people of African descent.
Disagreement was voiced by James Bottomley, former member of the technical board and developer of subsystems such as SCSI and MCA, and Stephen Rothwell(Stephen Rothwell, Linux-next branch maintainer). Stephen thinks it's wrong to limit racial issues only people of African descent, slavery is not limited to people with black skin.
On the triviality of replacing words
The African slave in trade was a brutal system of human misery deployed on a world scale. Some word choice decisions in a modern software project do next to nothing to offset that legacy.
So why put more effort into something so trivial in comparison? Because the goal is not to repair or erase the past. The goal is to maximize the availability and efficiency of the global developer community to participate in the Linux kernel development process.
James suggested ignoring the topic with inclusive terms, Ya que it only contributes to increasing disunity in the community and pointless debates about the historical justification for replacing certain terms.
The presented document acts as a magnet to attract people who want to use more inclusive language and other terms.
If you do not raise this issue, the attacks will be limited only to empty statements about the desire to replace the terms, without engaging in meaningless disputes that the slave trade in the Ottoman Empire was more or less brutal than in the United States.