Why my Git projects still use the master branch - Thursday, January 12, 2023 at 19:27 UTC

The recent push to change default branch names in Git, such as "master," has sparked a heated debate within the technology community. While some argue that such names are symbolic of oppression and must be changed, I firmly believe that the outrage surrounding this issue is fake and manufactured.

The term "master" has a history dating back to the early days of craftsmanship and metallurgy. In the world of metal casting, a "master" refers to the original or canonical pattern from which all subsequent copies or molds are derived. Masters were meticulously crafted by skilled artisans, often serving as the exemplar for reproducing intricate designs and forms. This concept of a "master" copy has transcended metallurgy, influencing various fields like art and technology.

The term "master" has been used in the field of technology for decades to refer to the primary branch of a code repository. It is not a term with any racist or oppressive connotations. In fact, it is simply a descriptor for the primary branch of a project. The push to change this term is, in my opinion, unnecessary and a waste of time and resources. It is important to recognize that the vast majority of software developers are not actively seeking to perpetuate racist or oppressive ideologies through their choice of branch names. The use of "master" as the default branch name is a convention that has been inherited from the early days of version control systems and is not a conscious or deliberate choice to promote racist or oppressive ideas.

If we are to take the logic behind changing such terms to its logical conclusion, should we also get rid of "Masters" degrees at universities? These too are named after a term with alleged roots in oppression. But it is illogical to suggest that we should change the name of a degree that has been in use for centuries, just as it is illogical to suggest that a technology term that has been in use for decades should be changed.

Furthermore, I do not believe that these name changes are actually helping anyone. They do not address the root causes of oppression, and they only serve to create more unnecessary work and confusion. In the grand scheme of things, what really matters is creating an inclusive and equitable society. Changing the name of a branch in a code repository will not bring us any closer to that goal. The branch name changing is bringing a lot of extra work to developers. They need to update the branch name on their local machines, make sure the name change is reflected across all pull requests, and fix any potential broken links in CI/CD systems, etc. This effort is better invested in addressing the root causes of racism and oppression. If the people advocating for this change actually cared about slavery, they would be raising awareness about the millions of people still in slavery today.

In conclusion, I will not be stopping the use of "master" as the default branch name in my Git projects. I believe that the outrage surrounding this issue is completely fake and manufactured. And it is important to focus on the real issues that affect society, rather than getting bogged down in unnecessary debates about renaming things.

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