Running git 2.28 or later? Take 10 seconds and enter the following into your terminal to set the default branch in new projects to main not master:

git config --global init.defaultBranch main

Actions matter more than words. So here’s a simple action you can take to show that you care.

@aral I changed mine back to master cause I'm used to it being master branch. Makes sense when I'm not thinking of political stuff.

@aral ah, I see. I suppose I should probably rename my aunt-jemima dev branches too

@ryan @aral You might not realize that the git master branch was specifically named with analogy to master/slave:

In addition to the inherent human rights abuse of claiming to own another human being, in the US slavery resulted in widespread murder, rape, and injustice against Black people that continues until today.

Does that change any of your thoughts on the appropriateness of the name "master"?

@aral @ryan Not that I really care about the word master, but how is that related to racism and why should removing it make things better?
I always thought remembering what happened in the past is the best way to avoid such mistakes, I don't really understand the logic of forgetting everything we don't like anymore.

Wait so keep it named master so I can be intentionally reminded of the institution of slavery every time I commit?
@aral @ryan

@lurker @aral @ryan One should motivate action, not inaction.
I see no good motivation to change what I am doing; even if the word was SlaveryIsFine I would see no point in changing my workflow.
As long as people know history and have a little awareness they'll be able to keep using it without falling back to slavery.
Instead of removing we should explain even more to people about it; not in git obviously though...

@rastinza @aral @ryan Are you saying we'll forget about the horrors of slavery if the primary branches of our git repositories aren't called "master"?

@locrian @aral @ryan No, but people are changing it because it reminds them about slavery; they are purposefully choosing to remove something that reminds them about slavery, therefore they decided to forget.
Many decisions of this kind are being taken lately: monuments destroyed, books frowned upon, inventors discredited and so on.
Moreover, I don't understand how the word master is related to slavery: master has quite a broad meaning.

@rastinza Counterpoint: "It reminds us of what happened" is a bad reason to cling onto something we don't need.

Also, the monuments people object to are statues that are made to uplift slaveowners and Confederates. If they were really only there to help us "remember" the past, why don't we have statues of Osama bin Laden, Stalin, [insert more horrific figures from living history here]?

@aral you can also use 'excelsior' if you're one of the cool kids 😎

@hulloanson I know, right? You’re hilarious, btw. Love it.

I do totally agree to change a name, it's little effort to prevent someone else from pain. And I understand why the analogy hurts.

But I fail to see how it hurts in a git repo name. Master/slave describes how it works. It's the connotation that people add to it that's hurtful I guess?

But as I said, little effort to prevent other people from getting hurt.

I also wanted to make a point about language. not sure if a reply to a thread is the right point.

Most languages like Dutch are masculine, e.g. the male term is accept for male, female and genderless objects. Language should change in general to be more inclusive and genderless or gender neutral.


this is not a property of language in strict sense, but more of culture and general agreement between people who are using it. when i write and have to use a pronoun that is addressing a genderless person where it was until recently common to use male pronoun, i try to use female pronoun as often as possible. and it's beautiful, to be honest.

@aral Oh cool. I've been doing this manually on Gitea/Github when creating new repos there, but I hadn't thought to try and configure git on my local box so it properly init'd repos every time.

@aral I wanted to stay away from this whole controversy so I renamed my master branch to "donald-trump".


How do I rename a branch mr_potato_head to something else? Asking for a friend.

@aral Simple indeed. Thank you for sharing this.

@aral changing your git branch solves no problem at all. “showing thay you care” is such a shallow act, these days. just post some words of solidarity on whatever social media, and call it a day. changing your git branch is of similar effect.

utterly useless. this isn’t how you fix racism.

@x Damn, man, and I thought that one thing would fix racism. Thanks for enlightening me.

@guneetnarula @aral by addressing the root cause (fixing the system), and not wasting time on hand-wavy acts like this.

@x @aral you say that, yes but what do we do? Suggest one action/task/behaviour, something

LOL. This kind of vacuum identity politics amazes me :cate:

Thanks for the tip.

* Makes it easier to push to github
* Doesn't break existing projects, only applies to new ones
* Hopefully makes some people feel better

Now actions do indeed speak louder than words, and lets be honest here, changing "master" to "main" IS words, but when the only downside is proliferation of terminology, it's kind of silly not to.

@aral Thanks for the tip--I hadn't gotten around to looking this up, so instead I've been getting around to renaming branches on every new repo.

For myself:
* I don't make the connection between master branch and master/slave terminology, but
* I respect the feelings of those who do
* The cost to me is worth it (I mean it is near zero anyway)
* The name of the default branch is arbitrary.

As a side benefit I actually prefer "main" anyway--it looks cleaner.

@aral isn't that the default now anyhow? I might alias it for myself until I get used to it, having master as the main branch is baked into my muscle memory now unfortunately 😅 Gonna have to unlearn it.

@marvka It is on GitHub (I just checked GitLab and it’s still master on the latest for new projects but apparently they’re also going to switch). And it looks like git itself will switch around May this year (

Great litte piece. Changing words and re-framing lead to changed minds. Has been prooven throughout history several times. But this time it's for good.

@aral Done, thanks for the tip!

To the people who are showcasing their selfishness by publicly refusing to lose 15min of their precious time, let me appeal to your ego: you are on the wrong side of history. Now that Github, Gitlab and others have moved to "main" as the default branch, it won't take many years until your fight for your right to keep playing slavetrader word games is going to be a very bad look. Just sayin'.

@aral I'm sorry for all the people that feel offended by the name of master. However, I'm not going to change it in my projects. I will not play politics games.

@aral Oh, I almost forgot it, thanks for the reminder. By the way, can I also rename my "Master's thesis" into something like "Specialist's thesis"? I don't want to be a master...

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