ANN: renaming of master branch to "main" for core repository and submodules (dictionaries, help, translations)

Lubos Lunak l.lunak at
Wed Mar 17 19:45:23 UTC 2021

On Wednesday 17 of March 2021, Christian Lohmaier wrote:
> Hi *,
> as requested and announced in previous ESC-minutes and infra-call
> minutes, master branch will be renamed for the LibreOffice core
> repositories and the submodules used by LibreOffice (dictionaries,
> help, translations).
> Current plan is to do the switchover on April 1st
> If you have objections to this date or the plan laid out below (for
> current changes please see also
> please raise your
> concerns ASAP)

 I disagree with the plan. Git uses master, so we should stick with that. And 
by 'git uses master' I mean that if you check out the git repo of the git 
tool, you'll get the master branch, there's no main branch, and if you build 
it and run 'git init', it'll create a master branch. The option for the 
default branch name was added 9 months ago, so they have had plenty of time 
for switching, and if they haven't, then maybe we shouldn't either. We 
already have this running joke of breaking every tooling, and I don't see a 
reason why risk it here.

 And that brings me to the non-technical part of this, because I really don't 
see the reason for this. Is it written down somewhere? I find the ESC minutes 
unclear on the motivation. The Redmine motivation link is to some RFC-like 
document that talks about "master-slave", but it does not mention "master" on 
its own a single time. Even the recommendations there refer 
to 'term "master-slave"' and not just "master". The other Redmine ticket 
links to GitHub, but why should we care what some other repository provider 
does? (I mean, I understand GitHub is based in a country where they currently 
have all kinds of problems with this, but do we need to take a part in 
that?). And presumably the intention is not being compatible with new 
repositories on GitHub, that wouldn't make much sense.

 Finally, even if we assume that it would be a good idea to avoid the use of 
the word 'master' altogether because one of the 20 meanings a dictionary 
gives is bad, what's the plan for all the other 20059 ('git grep -i master | 
wc -l') other uses in LibreOffice? We have master passwords, master slides, 
master styles and so on, and mind you, that goes as far as changing the ODF 
format, is the plan to change all those too? And if not, is there any plan 
for when somebody points that out as hypocrisy? And before any of this is 
done, shouldn't first be something done about those 487 occurences of the 
actually problematic word, which would be way simpler and actually do 
something related to the topic?

 The way I see it, if this is supposed to fix something, then it actually 
doesn't, and it can create technical problems. If it's supposed to do 
something else, it's not up to us to solve somebody else's problem, and it 
can backfire.

 PS: I can't miss the irony of renaming 'master' in 'git', when it's the 
latter word that's an actual insult.

 Lubos Lunak

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