"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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