Discussion on: Renaming your master branch to main in GithubπŸ‘©β€πŸ’»

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Rolf Streefkerk

Thanks for explaining the process, but I'm puzzled as to why a change was needed to begin with.

Within the context of operating Git it's a perfectly acceptable term. but of course we've found ways to link it to slavery so we must "abolish" the term.

To give you some context on how many different meanings this word has, just look at a few dictionaries:


The Free dictionary states; 12. An original, such as an original document or audio recording, from which copies can be made, which is a perfectly suitable explanation for the term Master in the Git system.

matt123miller profile image
Matt Miller (he/him)

To give you some context on the different meanings of another phrase just look at a dictionary.


rolfstreefkerk profile image
Rolf Streefkerk

I wasn't expecting anything less. The labeling tactic is a familiar one isn't it, now you don't actually have to argue for your position. Much easier that way.

At any event, you don't have to agree with me, have a good one.

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Jane Tracy πŸ‘©πŸ½β€πŸ’» Author

This post was a tutorial created for people who want to change from the master to the main branch.
If someone doesn't that's up to them.
For me, I wanted to change it to the main branch and also many other engineers are doing it too.
No one is forcing anyone to do something.
As I said this is a tutorial-based post for people who want to rename the master branch and don't know how to do it.

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David Miranda

Hi Rolf,
I appreciate your position and actually held it at one point.
Here are some counterpoints:

  1. Recruiting. Let's say you're trying to recruit someone to work with you who is of a different ethnicity or from a marginalized identity (e.g. LGBTQ or differently abled). Don't you think it would make them feel more comfortable if they realized you were making an effort to be more open minded and inclusive, even if that effort (e.g. renaming "master") didn't affect them in particular? It would be a signal that you're at least trying. Renaming "master" to "main" seems like a really small thing to do in order to get across the point that you're building an inclusive and fair environment.
  2. The person who named it "master" in the first place, Petr Baudis, has said that he's "wished many times I would have named them 'main' (and 'upstream') instead" when responding to the community effort to rename "master" to something else.
  3. It's a fact that many terms in technology were named by white males with a lot of priviledge (access to technology at an early age, wealth, lots of connections) and if there would have been a more diverse constituancy in tech as it was being developed, things would have been created and named very differently. It's not fair that an entire ecosystem is biased by one group's worldview β€” and changing this name can be just a small acknowledgement of that unfairness.
  4. There are examples of this in the past, around women's rights as they entered the workforce. The way men casually demeaned women before they entered the workforce was unacceptable before women started working alongside men. Just because the culture shifted and certain ways of speaking became off limits once the workforce got more diverse doesn't mean the people working there shouldn't have been more self-aware and accepting from the start. It shouldn't take something like this to get someone to realize they might be holding onto some internal biases because of the color of their skin or the gender they were born into. Since no one can actually live in other people's shoes, it shouldn't be hard to understand that a term might not be important/meaningful/offensive to one person, but be really meaningful to someone else. If someone says something's important to them, and it isn't to you, why not just go along with them for the sake of being supportive/understanding? That's not such a hard thing to do.
rolfstreefkerk profile image
Rolf Streefkerk

First off I appreciate you're interested in an honest discussion.

Here's the rub I have with "mandated" speech. Terms are used in a very specific context in which they operate and by neglecting or simply ignoring the context we can create meaning out of thin air. That is what's happening here and that's why I have a problem with it.

The term master in the context of Git means just as you've seen in my example and nothing more, I therefore fail to see any relation with minorities or other groups. What we have here is a question of education, once we define what the words mean there can be no confusion to what its intent is.

It's unfortunate that the creator has said that and I do not know the circumstances under which that was said. At any event, it doesn't change the fact that definitions and being precise with language avoids a lot of confusion without us having to mandate speech to avoid people getting their feelings hurt.

Your point about privilege and white males is a construct created by identity politics and race theory. Linking a color of a skin to some kind of privileged position is a massive generalization. Colors do not come into it. There are a vast number of variables that determine success in life and then there's such a thing as plain chance. Where are you born? Were your parents rich? etc. etc. These are all the parts of life that are unfair and we have to accept as something we cannot change.

We are in a free society where people should be judged based on individual actions and not by some group identity.

Finally about women's rights, again you use grouping and mass generalizations to come to quick conclusions. It's just not how the world works. You act like every man out there is out to diminish the chances of every woman. That's just not true and you know that is a fact. Again here, it's individuals that do and do not. It's not groups that do or do not. This is an important distinction.

Please understand your identity politics doesn't solve anything, it will in fact exacerbate issues we have and it will increase tensions among people because we're now being judged on our group identity.

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πŸ¦„N BπŸ›‘

I wonder if Git itself will be renamed, with a similar rationale.

tracycss profile image
Jane Tracy πŸ‘©πŸ½β€πŸ’» Author

Thank you for explaining it perfectly.
I appreciate it, David.
Building an inclusive environment is the best for growing the Tech community. πŸ™ŒπŸ‘

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