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From "Jason Smith (JIRA)" <>
Subject [jira] [Commented] (COUCHDB-2248) Replace "master" and "slave" terminology
Date Tue, 27 May 2014 08:09:01 GMT


Jason Smith commented on COUCHDB-2248:

Often, speakers of English as a second language use the literal English words in their own
technical vocabulary. In the Thai language, in a database or software context, "master" and
"slave" are transliterated English loanwords. (Well, bizarrely their pronunciation for "slave"
rhymes with "suave.") If you talked about a ทาส/นายทาส ("that/nai-that")
database configuration, it would sound like a bad attempt to show off your expensive education.

I think this is common phenomenon. Where there is no namespace collision (any language except
English), you get lots of precision by adopting the foreign English word.

Note, I am only providing background information here. I agree that it is a term of art which
provides clarity; but I am also comfortable with the language treadmill, where some words
are retired for various reasons.

At Iris Couch, we stopped using this term on technical grounds. It takes work to make a master-slave
CouchDB cluster, to make a less-important CouchDB node. You necessarily need external tooling
like a proxy. The normal operational mode for CouchDB is reads and writes on each one. So
we had "primary" and "secondaries" mostly to indicate which couch was to be backed up.

> Replace "master" and "slave" terminology
> ----------------------------------------
>                 Key: COUCHDB-2248
>                 URL:
>             Project: CouchDB
>          Issue Type: Bug
>      Security Level: public(Regular issues) 
>          Components: Documentation
>            Reporter: Noah Slater
>            Priority: Trivial
> Inspired by the comments on this PR:
> Summary is: `master` and `slave` are racially charged terms, and it would be good to
avoid them. Django have gone for `primary` and `replica`. But we also have to deal with what
we now call multi-master setups. I propose "peer to peer" as a replacement, or just "peer"
if you're describing one node.
> As far as I can tell, the primary work here is the docs. The wiki and any supporting
material can be updated after.

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