"Root Bug" or "Master Bug"?

Guy Pyrzak guy.pyrzak at gmail.com
Fri Feb 22 17:47:40 UTC 2008

I was kinda hoping for a resounding "of course!" but since that wasn't the
response let me make my strong case for this.

The terms that have been discussed are "master/slave" and "root/branch",
however, other possibilities include "parent/child", "base/associated", or
"hen/chicks" (actually used by NASA engineers due to over use of root and

I understand why people dislike root. Some systems don't use the word bug
they use the word "cause", others use the word issue, others ticket.
Bugzilla implemented [% terms.bugs %] for that exact reason, so that
bugzilla could be used in different domains. It just so happens that in the
developer domain the term "root" is overused due to the CVS and linux
terminology. However, in other domains the term "master" means many
different things and could just as easily be just as equally over used and
frustrating to users. In a hardware company the term master might be
overused the same way as root is in a software company. (I can list many
more examples here if that would make my case stronger)

Then there is the fact that in some areas of the US and the world as a
whole, having the terms master/slave appear anywhere is generally disliked
unless undeniably appropriate. I know this might sound silly, but in the
same way the term root has connotations to linux developers master/slave has
connotations to others due to not too distant history.  For example, a
southern school that has this as their student bug reporting and tracking
system might just rather not have the word master/slave all over their
website. I'm not saying this to sound silly, but I could imagine this
happening at a school which is trying to be as sensitive as possible.

The other question is what is the paradigm we are following, does the master
bug control the other bugs (as the term master/slave suggests?) Or is the
master bug actually the base from which all the others are associated?
Master would suggest that closing/changing the master would cause the slaves
to follow suit (the same way changing the master database changes its
slaves), is that the case? b/c i understood that to be an option but not
always true. Can the slave have slaves? If so that seems weird, although I
do recall hearing in some cultures slaves could have slaves, so eh. But the
term master/slave definitely implies ownership and control and I'm not sure
if that's the association we want to make, maybe it is.

Based on these 3 points above I feel like the parameterization of this term
makes sense. However, if you all still think that parameterization is too
much I would strongly suggest using a less over used term than master or
root b/c both can be over used in various domains.


On Fri, Feb 22, 2008 at 6:17 AM, Gervase Markham <gerv at mozilla.org> wrote:

> Guy Pyrzak wrote:
> > I prefer [% terms.master_bug %] in the template code I think it should
> > be called fhqwhgads, or whatever makes the other developers happy, as
> > long as it isn't jocking me (or any of the other end users).
> I think we should strongly resist the temptation to parameterise too
> many terms. A case made for this one would have to be strong.
> I prefer "master bug".
> Gerv
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