Alternative terms for master and slave

It seems the terms *master* and *slave* are being phased out of the tech lexicon with help from Google. I know this is like herding cats, but I have a proposal for a terminology change.

Just replace *master* and *slave* with *Alice* and *Bob* respectively. *Bob* attaches to *Alice* and then *Alice* tells *Bob* what to do, so it's easy to remember. Isn't that more fun than *master* and *slave*?

In SPI terminology, *mosi* and *miso* become *aobi* and *aibo*. If you have multiple Bobs on the bus, it gets better. Alice has a meeting with the Bobs.

Reply to
Brad Eckert
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My favourite alternative to master - slave is

boss - body

as in "everyBODY does what the BOSS tells them".

Boss-body has the nice property that both words have the same number of letters, so variable names etc. can be nicely aligned in the code :-)

Reply to
Niklas Holsti

Doesn't that, also, imply a sexist interpretation (Alice being the driver of the relationship?)

Perhaps "Pat" and "Chris"?

Then we can have Pat-Chris Flip Flops! (and whatever innuendo attaches, there!)

Reply to
Don Y

I remember about 35 years ago, when I said something about a male or female connector within earshot of my girlfriend. She asked why they're called male and female and how do you decide which is which?

I picked up two connectors, showed them to her and then plugged them together.

She was horrified.

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Grant
Reply to
Grant Edwards

I can understand these things being a surprise, or possibly even offensive, to people unfamiliar with the particular field. But when the terms are everyday technical terms, people using them do not associate them with the same things. When you decide if the coax connector on a board is to be male or female, you are thinking about the physical connector - not human body parts. (You might think about human body parts next time you do have a connector - but that is only because we have been discussing them in that way.)

You have a similar effect in human language with swearing. People never mean these /literally/, or think about the real meaning of the words when they swear. (It can be fun when first seeing swear words in different languages, if you translate them literally because you don't know they are common curses.)

For people who work with SPI buses, talking about an "SPI master" and an "SPI slave" makes them think of microcontrollers and eeproms, not a scene from "Gone with the Wind" or "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom".

And if someone thinks it is a problem that the words "master" and "slave" (or "male" and "female") are used in these contexts, then they should stay out of that kind of conversation - they don't understand it anyway.

Reply to
David Brown

Some might also be offended by running Ethernet controller in promiscuous mode, accepting all packets.

Reply to
upsidedown

Here is another example. What do you think of using the term "carnal knowl edge" to refer to knowledge of the inner workings of a function?

This was a real discussion in a language forum. People were tossing the te rm around and I didn't know what they meant by it. I looked it up and foun d it's actually a term from mostly legal usage and fairly archaic. I have a relatively large vocabulary and the group is international, so I figured I would not be the only person needing to look it up. Since the only defin ition of carnal knowledge is to have intercourse with someone as in a trial , "Did you have carnal knowledge of the victim?"

That just sounded strange to me. We give new meanings to words often, typi cally a closely related term that is given a particular shade of meaning in a technical context. I could not figure how anyone would think a euphemis m for the sex act would be an appropriate term to requisition for use in di scussing technical issues.

I was accused of being a prude and seemingly in line with international opi nions of people from the US. Many of the supporters of this new term indic ated it was perfectly clear to them, so obviously must be clear to everyone . It was one of the oddest conversations I've had on the Internet.

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Rick C. 

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Reply to
Rick C

In the trade, the opposite of "Generic" is "Ethical". Interesting choice of word!

Reply to
Don Y

Am 15.12.2020 um 14:30 schrieb Don Y:

Of course we can't. Flip-flops are banned from any sane workplace because of safety regulations. Shoes have to be firmly attached to feet and have to offer at least a modicum of protection against falling tools.

Reply to
Hans-Bernhard Bröker

For some in the US, the word "boss" has the same negative connotations as does "master".

YMMV, George

Reply to
George Neuner

Yes, boss.

There's a Chinese restaurant I eat at when I charge the car. The lady at the counter calls me "boss". I guess that's a polite formality. I should tell her to call me Rick.

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Rick C. 

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Reply to
Rick C

Perhaps people like using sex based terms for things because everyone can understand the metaphor and a lot of us think about it a lot.

In the 60s it looked as if we might all get a bit more relaxed about stuff - but now we seem to be going backwards.

For what it's worth I use Controller and Device rather than Master and Slave - it won't work - in the UK several terms for people with brain function problems have been tried - but they typically take no more than a year or two of common use to become derogatory.

I wonder if people who sign have the same problem ......

MK

Reply to
Michael Kellett

IMHO words are just words. We could call the things A and B, Alice and Bob, aadvark and buzzard, it doesn't really matter.

However, it may be the existing choice of words is upsetting to some people. If that's the case, perhaps they should suggest some new words. If we find some words that are less upsetting all round, that's a win.

Some people say 'well I'm not upset by them so why should we change?'. And of course if you don't see the problem, why would you be motivated to do so? So why not leave it to those who want to propose some better ones, and let's adopt those?

What it doesn't need is to blow it up into a culture war demonising about 'those people undermining XYZ values' and seek to defend the pre-existing state of affairs just because it was pre-existing, rather than any intrinsic merits of the situation.

Theo

Reply to
Theo

That's all fine.

But what we have with terms such as master/slave bus nodes is that none (to my knowledge) of the people using them are upset by them, nor are people who might reasonably be bothered by such words (people who have been slaves, or had some connection to people who have been slaves). The people getting their knickers in a twist about these terms are over-active extremist "social justice warriors" who are not content with finding things that bother people, but are telling people what should bother them. (I have nothing against social justice or political correctness - I'm ready to fight against all sorts of bigotry or injustice. But I am against extremism in any guise - too much of a good thing is very rarely still a good thing.)

If I were to hear someone say "You know theses boards we are designing? It bothers me that some nodes are referred to as master nodes and some as slave nodes", I'd look for new terms. If I were to hear "You know these wireless speakers you make that come in master/slave pairs? Those names bother me, because I have often been told that we black people should still be slaves", I'd look for new terms.

If I hear that people are /actually/ bothered by the use of these terms in my work or my field, then I'll try to change them. But until that time, I see no benefit in changed well-known and well-understood terms to things without meaning that will cause confusion, error and unnecessary work.

Reply to
David Brown

owledge" to refer to knowledge of the inner workings of a function?

term around and I didn't know what they meant by it. I looked it up and fo und it's actually a term from mostly legal usage and fairly archaic. I have a relatively large vocabulary and the group is international, so I figured I would not be the only person needing to look it up. Since the only defin ition of carnal knowledge is to have intercourse with someone as in a trial , "Did you have carnal knowledge of the victim?"

ypically a closely related term that is given a particular shade of meaning in a technical context. I could not figure how anyone would think a euphem ism for the sex act would be an appropriate term to requisition for use in discussing technical issues.

opinions of people from the US. Many of the supporters of this new term in dicated it was perfectly clear to them, so obviously must be clear to every one. It was one of the oddest conversations I've had on the Internet.

That was my objection to the use of the term "carnal knowledge". If someon e not knowing the language looked it up and found it is a euphemism for hav ing sex, what would they think it was being used for, having sex with your computer? At least the term "promiscuous" has a dictionary meaning that is similar to the technical usage.

Not sure why you consider the issue to be a matter of going backwards. Bei ng sensitive to people's feelings is not a bad thing.

I think USB uses Host and Device which are good terms, clear enough and wit hout connotations.

Check out ASL for bullshit. Very graphic.

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Rick C. 

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Reply to
Rick C

Are you sure?

"Ethical" and "ethnical" may look similar, but have very different meaning.

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RoRo
Reply to
Robert Roland

Master - Apprentice Works where the master can be replaced on failure, which is true with many modern distributed software systems.

Just google synonyms for these words recursively.

Reply to
Brett

IDE drives are configured as masters and slaves. All end users had to deal with setting up drives as "masters" or "slaves". It's a problem for tech support. I don't doubt racist people did racist things with these terms.

It's not so much that it only affects the small number of people designing and building machines, it's that the terminology often gets out into the rest of the world where it can be unnecessarily problematic. It's a sign of maturity that the industry sees no reason to go out of its way to be offensive and childish to end users.

In my software, I have a Monarch which tells Serfs what to do. It's very useful since no one else uses those terms, so I always know what it's referring to.

I wouldn't spend time redefining old standards, but for new standards, just pick different words. PCI master/slave became PCIe initiator/requester/transmitter and completer/receiver. What's the problem with doing this? PCIe is nearly 20 years old now--did anyone even realize this was being done? PCIe still refers to the PCI concepts using Master and Slave--they didn't redefine anything, they just stopped using it for anything PCIe-only. And SATA got rid of master/slave, too. And so on...

Basically, industry has already been doing this for more than two decades.

And the Alice and Bob stuff is like throwing a tantrum.

Kent

Reply to
Kent Dickey

Am 19.12.2020 um 03:03 schrieb Brett:

Doesn't work. "Apprentice" is not just any member of the master's work force; it's a career step towards becoming a master in one's own right. That doesn't fit a SPI or I2C device at all. The correct term from that field would be "hand."

And that's before we consider that due to its relation to the past of the outgoing POTUS, the word "Apprentice" is just too close to being non-PC to bet a concerted world-wide data-sheet audit-and-rewrite on.

The core problem, though, is that however large the bubble of available synonyms is, excessive application of PC rules will eventually drain it completely. Eventually you'll be unable to talk about anything, because any word actually meaning anything close to what you're trying to say will have been found offensive by someone, somewhere, at some point in time. The idea of PC has a risk of being abused as a DDOS attack against the system of "language".

In which case it was never truly a master-slave system in the first place.

Reply to
Hans-Bernhard Bröker

On 12/19/2020 23:41, Kent Dickey wrote: > ...

SATA does just a single device per link so no "master/slave" to be talked about (and the ATA standards talk of device 0 and 1, no master/slave there either IIRC since > 20 years).

However you can connect two ATA/SATA bridges to an ATA port which does device 0 and 1.... and device 1 (the "slave") will not always work just fine, depends on which version of the bridge you combine for device 1 (slave) with which for device 0 (master).... That for the only truly working bridge on the market from Marvell.

:D :D

So much talk about that politically (in?) correct nonsense. Context is enough offend or not offend anyone, the choice of words is actually irrelevant. Those who want to offend will find ways to do it using any sort of words and those who want to play offended victims won't run out of "offensive" words either. Words exist and do have meaning, banning a certain word is outright stupid. It is the messages people convey which can be offensive, not the words.

Dimiter

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