[License-discuss] Evolving the License Review process for OSI

John Cowan cowan at ccil.org
Tue Jun 4 16:01:08 UTC 2019

On Tue, Jun 4, 2019 at 3:59 AM Henrik Ingo <henrik.ingo at avoinelama.fi>

> There are plenty of areas of the law where precedent is set aside: if not,
> courts would never overrule their previous decisions.  "Not in accordance
> with precedent" is not the same as "arbitrary".

As a simple case, consider the doctrine of parental immunity, which holds
in many but not all U.S. states.  It protects a parent from being sued for
bodily injury by their unemancipated minor child.  In states upholding this
doctrine, it is considered that the criminal law is sufficient protection
for the child despite its higher standard of proof.

In most or all the parental-immunity states, however, two exceptions have
been carved out, thus overturning (to an extent) the precedents:  a child
sexually abused by a parent may sue, as well as a child killed by a
parent.  These changes were made because mechanical adherence to precedent
would work injustice.  (Tort law is like this in general: in contracts it
is usually more important to have a settled rule than what the rule is, but
plaintiffs in tort are supposed to receive a remedy for every legal wrong,
even if it is hitherto unheard-of.)  Yet those judges were not acting
arbitrarily at all.

> More generally, OSI only has legitimacy as long as its process
> represents the opinion of the wider open source community. Saying that
> decisions can be more or less arbitrary doesn't make sense.

Agreed, but nobody is calling for arbitrary decisions.

John Cowan          http://vrici.lojban.org/~cowan        cowan at ccil.org
Values of beeta will give rise to dom!
(5th/6th edition 'mv' said this if you tried to rename '.' or
'..' entries; see http://9p.io/who/dmr/odd.html)
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