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Date:   Sat, 4 Jul 2020 13:31:42 -0700
From:   Randy Dunlap <rdunlap@...radead.org>
To:     Dan Williams <dan.j.williams@...el.com>,
        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: Re: [PATCH] CodingStyle: Inclusive Terminology

On 7/4/20 1:02 PM, Dan Williams wrote:
> 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/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

   do next to nothing

> +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

                                                     word choice

> +specification.
> +
> +Non-inclusive terminology has that same distracting effect which is why
> +it is a style issue for Linux, it injures developer efficiency.

                       for Linux:

> +
> +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

how about:
              Using colors to represent a policy requires an indirection.

> +socialization of 'black/white' to have the connotation of
> +'impermissible/permissible' does not support inclusion.
> +
> +Inclusion == global developer community efficiency.


Acked-by: Randy Dunlap <rdunlap@...radead.org>


thanks.
-- 
~Randy

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