Replacing "master" and "slave" terminology

Subject: Replacing "master" and "slave" terminology
From: Karen Mulholland <kemulholland -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 10 Apr 2008 12:00:56 -0700 (PDT)

When two similar things - circuits, devices,
mechanisms - are set up so that one controls the
other, it's often called a "master-slave"
relationship. For example, cars' brake systems have
master cylinders and slave cylinders.

I've been on the geeky end of technical communication
for a long time, so I'm accustomed to this
That doesn't necessarily mean I should use it, though;
frankly, it makes me a little queasy.

Today as I walked an engineer through an edit session
on an application note that he's been writing, he
volunteered that although he had referred to elements
of his equipment setup as the "master" and "slave"
units, he was uncomfortable with those words. He asked
me what would be a better way to express the

Here's the setup:
MagicBox A and MagicBox B both communicate with
The two MagicBoxes are identical. Their physical
placement is at the discretion of the person who
installs them. They might not even both be in the same
BigDumbBox shouldn't be able to tell that there are
two MagicBoxes.
To keep BigDumbBox happy, MagicBox A controls MagicBox
B and makes it look like all communication is between
BigDumbBox and MagicBox A.

What would you call the unit that controls the other
one? What would you call the one that is under control
of the first one?

Create HTML or Microsoft Word content and convert to Help file formats or
printed documentation. Features include support for Windows Vista & 2007
Microsoft Office, team authoring, plus more.

True single source, conditional content, PDF export, modular help.
Help & Manual is the most powerful authoring tool for technical
documentation. Boost your productivity!

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.


Previous by Author: RE: Forum on conditional text in FrameMaker (7.2 or 8.0)
Next by Author: RE: Replacing "master" and "slave" terminology
Previous by Thread: Visio Question
Next by Thread: Re: Replacing "master" and "slave" terminology

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads