Times are changing.

For the best, I hope.

Ubuntu-Women got subscribed to a LP bug regarding nmap. Browsing through the provided link (see References), you can read this:

Political correctness
To cultivate a professional image, we long ago capitalized all references to God in error message text and also reworded all instances of “fucked up” to “borked”. We have now also changed this warning message: “TCP/IP fingerprinting (for OS scan) requires root privileges. Sorry, dude.” A woman reported that it was “highly offensive and sexist”, that “times have changed and many women now use your software”, and “a sexist remark like the one above should have no place in software.”

Although I do not read the “Sorry dude” as offensive or sexist, it was clearly exclusive, supposing only cool guys would use the application and read the warning. Good point.


LP bug report post
nmap release note


8 thoughts on “Times are changing.

  1. wolfger

    “Politcal correctness” sickens me. Not all references to god should be capitalized. That is a monotheism-centric idea. So in the effort to be “politically correct”, we’ve been in fact politically (and otherwise) incorrect…. Likewise being offended by “Sorry, dude.” is just kind of silly. It’s one thing if the change is made in the interest of being more professional (and I could argue that being more professional isn’t necessarily a good thing), but to drop it because one person (or even multiple people) has an incredibly thin skin just cheeses me off.

  2. Toni Ruottu

    I suppose the authors of nmap had originally used word “god” meaning the Christian God. Thus capitalizing the references was probably the right thing to do.

    When it comes to use of word “dude” the original use of it was probably just inconsiderate. I don’t think the authors had any problem with changing it. So why not take a step towards making the computer atmosphere more inviting towards women.

  3. bapoumba Post author

    @ wolfger: I know, but it is also not so easy to always and only be referred to as either non-exiting or for-your-eyes-only. When small steps like these bring up turmoil, that means we are not there yet. Integration takes time and efforts, from both sides :)

    And thanks Toni for pointing this improvement out :)

  4. John Campbell Rees

    But “Dude” is harmless. Anybody who finds it offensive really needs to get a life.

  5. bapoumba Post author

    @ Greg K Nicholson: it would have been exclusive too (or even offensive to men), and i would have been happy it gets changed :)

    Many times, I thought about starting a talk with “Hello ladies” in mostly male audiences, but never dared. For two reasons: I see no point ignoring part of the audience (and of course the majority of the audience), and no point starting useless arguments. But I really thought about it many times.

  6. beerfan

    If the reader was offended, it is because they chose to be so.

    In the case of the word “dude” I have heard a great many females use the term when speaking to other females both on television and in person. I think it has commonly been used more and more like the British/Australian term “mate”.

    What is offensive to you may be perfectly common and acceptable to others. Try not to exert your ideologies on the global community.

  7. blueties

    In the UK, the word guys has long been used by women and men to refer to all-male, all-female and mixed-gender groups. The phrase is, in more recent times, being used for the same purpose. While I generally all in favour of any effort to rid the free software community of sexism, I think this one is probably not useful.

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