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With IDE disk drives, each connector on the motherboard can communicate with
two IDE drives. All IDE drives (Integrated Drive Electronics) contain a
drive controller. In order to use two drives attached to a single connector
with a ribbon bus cable, only one drive controller can be used. Each drive
has jumpers that can be used to determine if it is a master (drive
controller enabled) or slave (subordinate to the drive with the controller
enabled). So yes, master/slave is a very accurate metaphor.
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----- Original Message -----
From: "Stuart Burnfield" <slb -at- westnet -dot- com -dot- au>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2007 9:08 PM
Subject: Re: Pet Peeves
> Several people in this thread have said it's all about precise
> communication, the right word for the job, etc. Yet it seems to me
> there's more at work than cool, rational, emotion-free technical writing.
> To give one example, in discussions of master/slave terminology, it's
> taken as a given that these are the best technical terms to use, and
> it's just a question of how we as individual writers weigh up the
> possibility of offending some readers against the loss of precision
> involved in using other terms.
> Whatever you think about slavery (and personally, I'm totally opposed to
> it) surely it's a poor metaphor in most of the IT and engineering
> settings in which it's used. What is there about the relationship
> between disk drives that makes master/slave a fruitful or descriptive or
> precise metaphor?
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