Samvera Branch Renaming WG Charter


Scope & Objectives

The goal of this working group is to describe (and execute?) a plan to stop using the "master" branch name in samvera and samvera-labs Github projects.

Note: This is not a feasibility assessment; We're making this change. The purpose of this working group is to create mitigation strategies for addressing possible disruptions from this change.

Git's default "master" branch derives from "master/slave" jargon which perpetuates systemic racist language and systems (see To uphold our Samvera Code of Conduct and Anti-Harassment Policy, we must move away from the term "master" in our technical language (as well as words like blacklist or whitelist).

On the Samvera Tech Call 2020-07-01, the attendees acknowledged that there could be technical repercussions for changing a branch name that many of us have assumed as "ever present."  As part of the working group's effort, they will gather known use cases and layout a plan to transition from "master" to a yet to be named default branch.  At present, a current working understanding is that we would need to deprecate the use of "master" branch and allow downstream adopters time to adjust their implementations.

Working group members must have working knowledge of git branching or be prepared to learn more about git branching.

Deliverables & Timeframe

  • A new "default branch" name that will replace "master"
  • A date when the new "default branch" will be available on all projects in samvera and samvera-labs GitHub organizations
  • A date when the "master" branch will no longer be available
  • A document describing what to migrate or be aware of:
    • Remediating developer clones
    • Remediating forks (if necessary)
    • Remediating gem references pointing to branches
  • Should we send a community letter to Github about requests for feature?

It is possible that Github may implement features that mitigate or even automatically remediate the branch names.

Proposed Timeline (some of these may happen concurrently)

  • WG Formation - 2 weeks
  • Establish new default branch name - 1 week
    • This may require more time as we solicit feedback from the community
  • Gather and document use cases - 1 week
  • Draft document - 1 week
  • Review and ratify document - 1 week
  • Implement new default branch name - 1 week

Meeting Times & Communication Channels

  • First meeting - 2020/07/31 3:00 - 4:00PM EST
Slack Channel: #branch-renaming-wg

Note that following current best practices within Samvera, interest and working groups should use an existing communication channel unless and until it becomes clear that a dedicated channel is needed. This section should specify which existing channel(s) will be used: e.g., samvera-tech, samvera-partners, When using a shared channel, individual working groups should start the subject line with their name in []s, such as [archives] for the Archives Working Group. If and when a dedicated channel is needed, the new channel should be well publicized and open to any interested subscribers/participants in the community.   


Note that Working Groups must have participants from three different Partners.  All members of a working group producing software must be licensed Samvera contributors covered by the appropriate CLAs. Other types of contributions such as requirements, design, best practices, documentation, etc. - do not require CLAs but participants should accept that the materials to which they contribute may be released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License..