GitHub has replaced ‘master’ with ‘main’

The Microsoft-owned coding site GitHub has dropped the term “master” from its systems on its service with a neutral term like “main” to avoid any unnecessary references to slavery to support the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

GitHub CEO Nat Friedman with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

GitHub repositories are where developers and organizations store and synchronize their source code projects. Approximately, 50 million developers use GitHub around the world and it is indeed the most used version-control platform in the world.

By default, GitHub used the term “master” for the primary version of a source code repository. Developers used to make copies of the “master” on their computers into which they used to add their code, and then merge the changes back into the “master” repo.

On Oct. 1, 2020, any new repositories you create will use main as the default branch, instead of master

Nat Friedman, GitHub CEO

The company did exactly that. They changed the default branch from “master” to “main” from 1st October 2020. However, existing repositories that have “master” set as the default branch is left as is. This is due to the fact that renaming the existing master branch will cause problems but the company is investing in tools that will make it seamless for existing repositories to rename their default branch as the published by the company here.

The default branch of GitHub is “main”

After the unfortunate death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter protests earlier this year, tech companies wanted to show their support for the black community by abandoning non-inclusive terms such as master, slave, blacklist, and whitelist.

Companies and major open source projects like Microsoft, IBM, Twitter, Red Hat, MySQL, the Linux kernel, and OpenBSD have agreed to make changes to their technical jargon all through the 2020 summer.

GitHub was one of the first companies to show support for such changes when its CEO revealed in June that they were already looking for a replacement for “master.”

GitHub has been one of the first companies to make changes in their policies

A lot of changes need to be done on this front, but technology is agile, and those responsible for creating it are forward-thinking. Hope others also follow the suit.

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