David Heinemeier Hansson

April 15, 2024

Forcing master to main was a good faith exploit

I never actually cared whether we call it master or main. So when the racialized claims started over how calling the default branch in Git repositories "master" was PrObLEmAtIC, I thought, fine, what skin is it off anyone's or my back to change? If this is really important, can make a real difference, great. Let's do it.

How naive.

This was a classic exploit of good faith, and I fell for it.

Changing master to main changed less than nothing. Because nothing was or is ever enough in this arena. As soon as this word battle was won, it was just on to the next and the next (and the next).

But the upside of being hit by an exploit like this is that you eventually end up with a patch that closes the hole. And rest assured, this hole in our collective good faith is now closed. People are not going to be this gullible twice. I am not going to be this gullible twice. 

Next time the firewall will be ready.

About David Heinemeier Hansson

Made Basecamp and HEY for the underdogs as co-owner and CTO of 37signals. Created Ruby on Rails. Wrote REWORK, It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, and REMOTE. Won at Le Mans as a racing driver. Fought the big tech monopolies as an antitrust advocate. Invested in Danish startups.