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Date:   Tue, 7 Jul 2020 13:56:30 -0700
From:   Kees Cook <keescook@...omium.org>
To:     Mike Rapoport <rppt@...ux.ibm.com>
Cc:     Steven Rostedt <rostedt@...dmis.org>,
        ksummit <ksummit-discuss@...ts.linuxfoundation.org>,
        Greg Kroah-Hartman <gregkh@...uxfoundation.org>,
        LKML <linux-kernel@...r.kernel.org>,
        "tech-board-discuss@...ts.linuxfoundation.org" 
        <tech-board-discuss@...ts.linuxfoundation.org>,
        Chris Mason <clm@...clm>
Subject: Re: [Ksummit-discuss] [Tech-board-discuss] [PATCH] CodingStyle:
 Inclusive Terminology

On Tue, Jul 07, 2020 at 05:45:42PM +0300, Mike Rapoport wrote:
> On Tue, Jul 07, 2020 at 09:41:47AM -0400, Steven Rostedt wrote:
> > On Tue, 7 Jul 2020 01:54:23 -0700
> > Kees Cook <keescook@...omium.org> wrote:
> > 
> > > "I will whitelist the syscall" -- sounds correct to me (same for
> > > "it is whitelisted" or "it is in whitelisting mode").
> > > 
> > > "I will allow-list the syscall" -- sounds wrong to me (same for
> > > "it is allow-listed" or "it is in allow-listing mode").
> > 
> > That's because we can't just make "allow-list" a drop in replacement
> > for "whitelist" as I too (native English speaker) find it awkward. But
> > then we don't need to make it a drop in replacement.
> > 
> > "I will whitelist the syscall" will become "I will add the syscall to
> > the allow-list", which sounds perfectly fine, and even better than
> > saying "I will add the syscall to the whitelist".
> 
> I will allow the syscall?

Kind of, but it's this change to verb-noun from adj-noun that confuses the
resulting language: the verb form of the verb-noun doesn't distinguish
between its stand-alone action ("allowed") or its combined action
("allow-list-ed") in the same way that the verb form of the adj-noun does
(the verbed adj-noun is its own word). To me to looks like "allowed" and
"whitelisted" mean distinct things (as in, a single allowance vs being
added to the persistent list of allowances).

So "I will allow this system call once" and "I will allow all instances
of this syscall", or we just get used to using the verb-noun as a whole,
and embrace "I allowlisted the syscall."

But yes, as I and others come back to: it's fine. We'll just use different
surrounding constructs to avoid confusion. But it is an odd characteristic
of English's grammar (or lack of appropriately descriptive adjectives) to
not have a drop-in replacement. (Which is where I think the master/slave
replacements fair far better -- the whitelist replacement is more complex,
but it's mostly just English glitchiness.)

-- 
Kees Cook

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