An architecture whose specifications are public. This includes officially approved standards as well as privately designed architectures whose specifications are made public by the designers. The opposite of open is closed or proprietary.
The great advantage of open architectures is that anyone can design add-on products for it. By making an architecture public, however, a manufacturer allows others to duplicate its product. Linux, for example, is considered open architecture because its source code is available to the public for free. In contrast, DOS, Windows, and the Macintosh architecture and operating system have been predominantly closed. Many lawsuits have been filed over the use of these architectures in clone machines. For example, IBM issued a Cease and Desist order, followed by a battery of lawsuits, when COMPAQ built its first computers.
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The Open Group home page
The Open Group is an international consortium of vendors, ISVs and end-user customers from industry, government, and academia. Their home page provides links to information on open systems, a software mall, organization overviews, news, events, research, and technical focus areas.
UniForum home page
Home page of UniForm, an international association of open systems professionals. Their site contains links to membership information, trade shows and conferences, publications, product information, a comprehensive collection of articles, and on-line services.
Moving to open systems - article
Offers tips and advice on making the move to open systems.
Standard on Open Architecture for the Society for Automotive Engineers (SAE)
Provides information on the SAE's General Open Architecture Framework document.