Black Lives Matter. We stand with the Black community and we choose to be actively anti-racist, work towards racial equity, and against White supremacy. As part of this, we are taking steps here in our community.
The words that we use have an impact. It is time to remove the words which describe a morally repugnant relationship, “Master” and “Slave”, from our technical vocabulary. These terms have been used for decades to describe the relationship between hardware components. Some of the standards and interfaces that use this terminology include SPI, I2C, Wishbone, AXI, SD, RapidI/O, and MIPI DSI.
By way of example, the SPI (Serial Peripheral Interface) protocol specifies logic signals with names including MOSI (Master Output Slave Input), MISO (Master Input Slave Output), and SS (Slave Select). This is unacceptable.
These signals in SPI – along with those in the other protocols – should not have been named this way. Even so, it is well past time to change them. Any number of individuals and organizations have already adopted alternative nomenclature, but we as a community have thus far failed to take the collective action necessary to establish a new convention and eliminate these legacy names from common use.
Effective immediately, we call upon hardware and software developers to fully and widely adopt the Resolution to Redefine SPI Pin Names. While acknowledging that change has its costs, there is no excuse for any member of our community or industries to continue to reference “Master” and “Slave” as technical terms going forward. We will continue to work on other standards.
The Open Source movement must be built on inclusion, not exclusion. Dismantling systems of oppression require conscious, coordinated, and sustained effort. Although removing racist terms from hardware standards is important, it is obviously only a small part of the work to be done. We call on our community to bring to light and help us address and remove other sources of systemic oppression within the open hardware and technology communities we’ve helped build and sustain.
The Open Source Hardware Association