[vlc-devel] [PATCH 1/4] clock: rename: s/master/driver, s/slave/client

Pierre Ynard linkfanel at yahoo.fr
Thu Apr 15 00:06:25 UTC 2021

I'm sorry for the late reply, I came across this patchset just now and
felt that discussion of it had been subpar.

I agree with Rémi against the patchset.

> There are no, or at least no well-known, social science studies that
> would justify your assertion that this metaphore makes VLC less
> inclusive. That notion is but a postulate from political correct
> California, that came back to the fore after the racist murder of
> George Floyd and ensuing events. There are no evidence that it
> actually affects inclusivity of open-source, or on a bigger picture
> level, the (under-)representation of African Americans within the IT
> workforce.

I agree with this position. It is incumbent on the submitter to justify
their patch, so here, to back with evidence and data the implicit
underlying assumptions - that you didn't even bother to explicitly
state - that 1/ there are a significant, and relevant to VLC, portion
of people who actually feel offended by the use of the master/slave
terms in software, and 2/ replacing those terms would go into the right
direction and actually increase inclusivity or decrease offensiveness.

As Rémi said, from everywhere I've seen it discussed, I still have not
seen such evidence against the terms master/slave getting presented
to back up those postulates. However, ironically, I have seen, in the
backlash against similar initiatives, evidence that trying to remove
those terms makes things more offensive, and less inclusive.

When submitting a patchset to increase performance of a subsystem, it
is good practice to present measurements showing that performance is
not only indeed increased, but in significant amounts worth the cost
or added complexity. Some people even argue that if you can't measure
and prove a difference, there was no point in developing the patch in
the first place. Web platforms intent on making money, test and deploy
changes through A/B testing and progressive rollout, while comparing
Key Performance Indicator graphics to confirm that it yields them more
money, and especially not less.

> What other terms do you suggest to replace master and slave in this
> particular case?

It is striking here how, when challenged, you present it as self-evident
that there is a problem to fix to begin with. It is not, and you haven't
shown there was.

It also struck me when Rémi used the term "African Americans". This is
indeed very American-centric. I can't name any other first-world country
where the very fabric of society was so deeply structured by slavery
and entrenched segregation, down into the core of its constitution (the
electoral college and federal system were designed to enable voter

These problems of identity politics, inclusivity and emotional
perception of slavery imagery are social problems particular and
specific to the American society. What this patch does is importing
those problems into the VLC codebase, that has nothing to do with it. I
see very little reason for importing such outside problems.

> I wholeheartedly disagree with that definition of inclusivity.

Well why don't you formulate your definition of inclusivity and
articulate how it supports this patchset, instead of merely rejecting
what Rémi said, when he was the only one who even attempted to actually
discuss the topic that was brought up here by others?

If you want to talk about politics, the marxist approach doesn't
emancipate the people it purports to, because it puts in place a
totalitarian system. Then instead of having a group of people denouncing
oppression, you have everybody getting actually oppressed much worse.
Even at the height of its oppression, e.g. under Stalin, totalitarism
still openly claimed itself in line with marxist emancipation of
peoples, despite complete lack of historical evidence or even any
theorization from Marx himself on that part; a bit like you come to
us without evidence, data and practical explanation to show that this
patchset is going to be good.

Instead of banning words, please consider what the LGBT community did to
reclaim the term "queer", which used to be mostly derogative but has now
garnered a significant positive connotation instead. In my opinion, your
approach of associating master and slave media clocks with the plight
of the African American people is the one closer to essentialism and
racism itself. Do you want to live in a world where "slave" clocks make
people think of black people, or in a world where the sanctity of human
beings is so universally acknowledged that the word slave is only used
for machines and industrial or software systems anymore?

> > Now, picture me a pessimist, but I fear this kind of discussions,
> > through public emails is not going to go smooth, but rather heat
> > up quite quickly. I'm fine keeping this stashed until the next
> > asso/technical meeting and discussing it then.
> Good idea Hugo, we could discuss it in a meeting and vote for it.

How quick you are to stop public discussion and move to restricted
committees, and to abort and bypass the review process in favor of a
vote, all in the name of inclusivity. I'm actually against moving this
issue to a restricted setting to make it easier to pass, and in favor
of discussing and rejecting it here and now, but failing this, I would
suggest that you use this time until the next meeting to prepare your
case by gathering the supporting evidence and data that you were asked
for to back it up.

Perhaps you can partner with researchers or students to launch a
quick study, or at least review the existing literature. Maybe you
could at least start an online poll asking people whether they think
--clock-master, --input-slave or internal APIs feel offensive to
them and should be renamed: this would be a terribly unreliable and
irrelevant source of data, but at least it would be something more than
what was brought forward in this patchset.

I'm sorry for my sarcastic and bitter tone, but as I said, I have seen
these initiatives elsewhere like on bug trackers, and have never seen
supporting evidence getting posted, however I did see these tickets
getting downvoted to hell, and moderators reacting by mass deletion of
disagreeing comments, or simply disabling comments altogether; all in
the name of inclusivity. This marxist inclusivity thing works great to
make free software more free, accessible and less offensive, doesn't it?

I suggest everyone who thinks this is a good idea do a bit of soul
searching. I don't presume how much of this can be political correctness
or virtue signalling, and I can appreciate the sentiment, when genuine,
of empathy towards those who have suffered from slavery or its social
consequences. Personally, I think this is a mockery, to act on it this
way, tackling a marginal and seemingly nonexistent aspect of a very real
problem, in VLC internals of all places where that aspect is even less
existent and relevant.

If you want to take action, I would suggest that you get concerned with
social and political activism and advocacy about American problems, or
the rarely mentioned problem of actual modern slave labor from Asia
"employed" in rich Middle-Eastern countries for example. Perhaps you can
denounce and try to act against American voter suppression laws, the
American cultures of gun violence and police violence, or the American
decentralization of legal power, infrastructures and public services
enabling local areas of substandard human and civic rights. Perhaps
you can raise awareness about how Dubai is NOT a cool place to host
international meetings.

Pierre Ynard
"Une âme dans un corps, c'est comme un dessin sur une feuille de papier."

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