Open architecture

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Not to be confused with Open-source architecture.

Open architecture is a type of computer architecture or software architecture that is designed to make adding, upgrading and swapping components easy.[1] For example, the IBM PC and Apple IIe have an open architecture supporting plug-in cards, whereas the Apple IIc and Amiga 500 computers have a closed architecture. In a closed architecture, the hardware manufacturer chooses the components, and they are not generally intended to be upgraded by the end-user.

Open architecture is also beginning to be pushed to extend into the context of Architectural Design of Buildings by the group Architecture for Humanity. The group has developed a project called the Open Architecture Network which aims to bring the discipline of Architecture away from the closed format which is promoted by firms that choose not to share their work.

Open architecture allows potential users to see inside all or parts of the architecture without any proprietary constraints. Typically, an open architecture publishes all or parts of its architecture that the developer or integrator wants to share. The open business processes involved with an open architecture may require some license agreements between entities sharing the architecture information.


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. [2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Clifton A. Ericson, II (12 April 2011). Concise Encyclopedia of System Safety: Definition of Terms and Concepts. John Wiley & Sons. p. 272. ISBN 978-1-118-02865-0. 
  2. ^ open architecture webopedia.