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SubjectRe: [PATCH] CodingStyle: Inclusive Terminology
On Sat, Jul 4, 2020 at 5:41 PM Kees Cook <keescook@chromium.org> wrote:
>
> On Sat, Jul 04, 2020 at 01:02:51PM -0700, 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@lwn.net>
> > Cc: Kees Cook <keescook@chromium.org>
> > Signed-off-by: Chris Mason <clm@fb.clm>
> > Signed-off-by: Greg Kroah-Hartman <gregkh@linuxfoundation.org>
> > Signed-off-by: Dan Williams <dan.j.williams@intel.com>
>
> (nit: isn't this a Co-developed-by chain, not a SoB chain?)
>
> Acked-by: Kees Cook <keescook@chromium.org>
>
> Comments below...
>
> > ---
> > 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'.
>
> Keeping "master" in a "master/slave" pairing (i.e. replacing only
> "slave") seems incomplete to me. If "master" is paired with "slave", it
> should be replaced too. Potential examples: 'primary', 'leader', 'principle',
> 'controller', 'sender', 'initial'.

Yes, this matches Andy's feedback, will add.

> Similarly, for "whitelist/blacklist", "whitelist" needs to replaced when
> "blacklist" has been. For example, seccomp documentation[1] uses
> "allow-list" and "deny-list".
>
> [1] https://man7.org/linux/man-pages/man2/seccomp.2.html

Oh, good to know will make that change.

> > +Exceptions for introducing new usage is to maintain a userspace ABI, or
>
> and API?

True, yes, the intent was "don't break userspace" for terminology replacement.

>
> > +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.
>
> Let's add:
>
> Where possible, old instances of this language should be replaced when
> it is not tied to external specifications nor userspace ABI/API.

Sounds good to me.

>
> >
> > 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.
>
> ... usage of 'master/slave', 'slave', 'whitelist/blacklist', and
> 'blacklist' in the Linux kernel.

Yes, but as I'm reading this thread backwards I've already agreed to
just push the coding-style change in isolation.

>
> > +
> > +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.
>
> Let's add:
>
> Beyond just Linux
> =================
>
> For those of us in the kernel community involved in specification
> development or similar larger ecosystem conversations, please help
> steer those discussions to avoid these terms in new specifications
> or APIs.

I agree with this statement and am interested in getting connected to
those conversations, but this may be a bit too much advocacy to expect
in kernel documentation.

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