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Date:   Sat, 04 Jul 2020 13:02:51 -0700
From:   Dan Williams <dan.j.williams@...el.com>
To:     torvalds@...ux-foundation.org
Cc:     Jonathan Corbet <corbet@....net>,
        Kees Cook <keescook@...omium.org>, Chris Mason <clm@...clm>,
        Greg Kroah-Hartman <gregkh@...uxfoundation.org>,
        ksummit-discuss@...ts.linuxfoundation.org,
        tech-board-discuss@...ts.linuxfoundation.org,
        linux-kernel@...r.kernel.org
Subject: [PATCH] CodingStyle: Inclusive Terminology

Recent events have prompted a Linux position statement on inclusive
terminology. Given that Linux maintains a coding-style and its own
idiomatic set of terminology here is a proposal to answer the call to
replace non-inclusive terminology.

Cc: Jonathan Corbet <corbet@....net>
Cc: Kees Cook <keescook@...omium.org>
Signed-off-by: Chris Mason <clm@...clm>
Signed-off-by: Greg Kroah-Hartman <gregkh@...uxfoundation.org>
Signed-off-by: Dan Williams <dan.j.williams@...el.com>
---
 Documentation/process/coding-style.rst          |   12 ++++
 Documentation/process/inclusive-terminology.rst |   64 +++++++++++++++++++++++
 Documentation/process/index.rst                 |    1 
 3 files changed, 77 insertions(+)
 create mode 100644 Documentation/process/inclusive-terminology.rst

diff --git a/Documentation/process/coding-style.rst b/Documentation/process/coding-style.rst
index 2657a55c6f12..4b15ab671089 100644
--- a/Documentation/process/coding-style.rst
+++ b/Documentation/process/coding-style.rst
@@ -319,6 +319,18 @@ If you are afraid to mix up your local variable names, you have another
 problem, which is called the function-growth-hormone-imbalance syndrome.
 See chapter 6 (Functions).
 
+For symbol names, avoid introducing new usage of the words 'slave' and
+'blacklist'. Recommended replacements for 'slave' are: 'secondary',
+'subordinate', 'replica', 'responder', 'follower', 'proxy', or
+'performer'.  Recommended replacements for blacklist are: 'blocklist' or
+'denylist'.
+
+Exceptions for introducing new usage is to maintain a userspace ABI, or
+when updating code for an existing (as of 2020) hardware or protocol
+specification that mandates those terms. For new specifications consider
+translating specification usage of the terminology to the kernel coding
+standard where possible. See :ref:`process/inclusive-terminology.rst
+<inclusiveterminology>` for details.
 
 5) Typedefs
 -----------
diff --git a/Documentation/process/inclusive-terminology.rst b/Documentation/process/inclusive-terminology.rst
new file mode 100644
index 000000000000..a8eb26690eb4
--- /dev/null
+++ b/Documentation/process/inclusive-terminology.rst
@@ -0,0 +1,64 @@
+.. _inclusiveterminology:
+
+Linux kernel inclusive terminology
+==================================
+
+The Linux kernel is a global software project, and in 2020 there was a
+global reckoning on race relations that caused many organizations to
+re-evaluate their policies and practices relative to the inclusion of
+people of African descent. This document describes why the 'Naming'
+section in :ref:`process/coding-style.rst <codingstyle>` recommends
+avoiding usage of 'slave' and 'blacklist' in new additions to the Linux
+kernel.
+
+On the triviality of replacing words
+====================================
+
+The African slave trade was a brutal system of human misery deployed at
+global scale. Some word choice decisions in a modern software project
+does next to nothing to compensate for that legacy. So why put any
+effort into something so trivial in comparison? Because the goal is not
+to repair, or erase the past. The goal is to maximize availability and
+efficiency of the global developer community to participate in the Linux
+kernel development process.
+
+Word choice and developer efficiency
+====================================
+
+Why does any software project go through the trouble of developing a
+document like :ref:`process/coding-style.rst <codingstyle>`? It does so
+because a common coding style maximizes the efficiency of both
+maintainers and developers. Developers learn common design patterns and
+idiomatic expressions while maintainers can spot deviations from those
+norms. Even non-compliant whitespace is considered a leading indicator
+to deeper problems in a patchset. Coding style violations are known to
+take a maintainer "out of the zone" of reviewing code. Maintainers are
+also sensitive to word choice across specifications and often choose to
+deploy Linux terminology to replace non-idiomatic word-choice in a
+specification.
+
+Non-inclusive terminology has that same distracting effect which is why
+it is a style issue for Linux, it injures developer efficiency.
+
+Of course it is around this point someone jumps in with an etymological
+argument about why people should not be offended. Etymological arguments
+do not scale. The scope and pace of Linux to reach new developers
+exceeds the ability of historical terminology defenders to describe "no,
+not that connotation". The revelation of 2020 was that black voices were
+heard on a global scale and the Linux kernel project has done its small
+part to answer that call as it wants black voices, among all voices, in
+its developer community.
+
+Really, 'blacklist' too?
+========================
+
+While 'slave' has a direct connection to human suffering the etymology
+of 'blacklist' is devoid of a historical racial connection. However, one
+thought exercise is to consider replacing 'blacklist/whitelist' with
+'redlist/greenlist'. Realize that the replacement only makes sense if
+you have been socialized with the concepts that 'red/green' implies
+'stop/go'. Colors to represent a policy requires an indirection. The
+socialization of 'black/white' to have the connotation of
+'impermissible/permissible' does not support inclusion.
+
+Inclusion == global developer community efficiency.
diff --git a/Documentation/process/index.rst b/Documentation/process/index.rst
index f07c9250c3ac..ed861f6f8d25 100644
--- a/Documentation/process/index.rst
+++ b/Documentation/process/index.rst
@@ -27,6 +27,7 @@ Below are the essential guides that every developer should read.
    submitting-patches
    programming-language
    coding-style
+   inclusive-terminology
    maintainer-pgp-guide
    email-clients
    kernel-enforcement-statement

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