Microsoft Helping Out In Making The Linux Kernel Language More Inclusive

Written by Michael Larabel in Microsoft on 30 March 2024 at 01:07 PM EDT. 106 Comments
With time Microsoft's Linux kernel contributions have extended beyond just the initial business focus on Hyper-V support and other needs for Azure as well as around Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) to more general contributions. Microsoft has also hired more key Linux contributors along with stakes in other projects like systemd. Earlier this week were patches from a Microsoft engineer working out Rust language improvements for the Linux kernel while now in ending out the holiday weekend are patches for making the Linux kernel language more inclusive.

A set of fourteen patches were sent out today by Microsoft Linux engineer Easwar Hariharan who works on the Azure Linux plumbing, enabling of cloud silicon like Azure Cobalt, and virtualization affairs. This latest non-core-business-focus Linux contribution from Microsoft is cleaning up the language within the code to make it more inclusive. In particular, adjusting against the latest upstream I2C, SMBus, and I3C specifications to use appropriate terms.

For the most part the terminology within the code and code comments is adjusted from master and slave to instead using controller and target (or client). But even to these patches some questions were raised as the industry specifications tend to refer to the new controller/target terminology as opposed to client as is used in most of these new kernel patches. Among upstream kernel developers there is apparently not a clear consensus yet on settling between client and target.

Nearly four hundred lines were cleaned up by these patches ranging from core subsystem code to the AMD and Intel graphics drivers, various media and FBDEV drivers, and other I2C/I3C/SMBus code.

The new Linux kernel inclusive language patches from Microsoft can be found on the kernel mailing list.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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