Re: Replacing "master" and "slave" terminology

Subject: Re: Replacing "master" and "slave" terminology
From: "Gene Kim-Eng" <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 10 Apr 2008 12:17:07 -0700

There really is no other unambiguous set of terms to
describe a system in which one unit has full control
of the other. Any substitute terms will introduce a
level of ambiguity, for example, does a "primary" unit
control a "secondary," or is the "secondary" a backup
to the "primary?"

There is a reason why some terms have been around
as long as they have.

Gene Kim-Eng

----- Original Message -----
From: "Karen Mulholland" <kemulholland -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Sent: Thursday, April 10, 2008 12:00 PM
Subject: Replacing "master" and "slave" terminology

> 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
> terminology.
> 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
> relationship.
> Here's the setup:
> MagicBox A and MagicBox B both communicate with
> BigDumbBox.
> 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
> room.
> 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?


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Replacing "master" and "slave" terminology: From: Karen Mulholland

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