RE: Replacing "master" and "slave" terminology

Subject: RE: Replacing "master" and "slave" terminology
From: "Lauren" <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>
To: "'Karen Mulholland'" <kemulholland -at- yahoo -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 10 Apr 2008 16:36:46 -0700

Wow. This turned into a busy thread. How about "Employer" and "Employee"?
"Manager" and "Subordinate"? I've seen the word "Boss" used, but I don't
know what the subordinate was called.

It's really difficult to get away from the master-slave terminology because
the relationship doesn't really have a better definition. We don't like the
terms because of the negative connotations that have, but then we don't have
non-negative terms for the relationship of two components that function as
master and slave.

Any terms of human relationships that are not "master" and "slave" tend to
give autonomy to the components that they do not have. The slave cannot
function without its master. It cannot be a secondary component that can
function on its own as the term "secondary" implies. The slave cannot
function with another master as the term "client" implies if the terms
"client" and "server" were used.

"Male" and "Female" won't work either because refer to connections rather
than functions and do not really suggest which component is in control. For
example, my laptop has a female power connection and the power cord has a
male connection. Which component is in control? The electrical connection
or the laptop? Do we know by the connections? To make the male and female
terminology even less informative, inside each component of my laptop's
power connection is a connection of opposite gender. So, which component is
which gender?

I think the better question here is, why is there a problem with the terms
"master" and "slave" when they are used to describe relationships that are
appropriate for use of the terms?


> From: Karen Mulholland

> 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.


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

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