DHH @dhh Creator of Ruby on Rails, Founder & CTO at Basecamp, NYT best-selling author, and Le Mans 24h class-winning racing driver. Sep. 07, 2018 1 min read

I’d like you to reconsider the stance on master-slave terminology. Not only does it have some terrible legacy and connotations, it’s also just a worse technical term. Naming things better is a key part of progress in tech. Please.

I completely understand the first impulse to dig in your heels, and to reach for the slippery slope, or imagined examples. I’ve been there! But let that impulse pass, and there’s room to consider how using better words when presented with the option actually is better.

That doesn’t mean you have to agree all the time with every term. Hey, I have a new book out that has the word “crazy” in the title, and some people don’t like that. It doesn’t have to be complete submission on every term in order to get better.

But regarding master-slave, it’s an easy win. There’s better, clearer terminology available that’s been adopted by many other projects. I’d recommend just adding some new aliases, like primary-replica, and deprecating master-slave. Then use new terms in docs etc.

Anyway, I know being confronted with accusations that seem unjust and unwarranted because you happen to use terms that were standard for many years feels unfair. As hard as it is, put those feelings aside and consider the merits of the change. There are merits.

If for nothing else, do it as a favor to me and others who really like using Redis 😄. Don’t grow attached to poor terminology out of spite. It’s not worth it. People who care will not think less of you for changing your mind. I would applaud it 🙏❤️

Also, I know Twitter is a supercharged environment for carefully discussing these things. Happy to switch to email. Again, I recognize the impulse to digging in when attacked in public. So I have buckets of sympathy for that as a first reaction 😄


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