A physical system that interacts with and accepts input from other systems, especially one that obeys conservation laws.
A physical system that interacts with other systems. The physical description of an open system can appear to violate conservation laws; for example, in a good description of the mechanism of energy transfer in a car engine (gears, driveshaft, and so on), energy will appear to be lost from the system over time, despite the law of conservation of energy. This is because the system is open, losing energy (in the form of heat) to surrounding systems (through friction). A system that loses energy in this way also called a dissipative system.
A system that allows third parties to make products that plug into or interoperate with it. For example, the PC is an open system. Although the fundamental standards are controlled by Microsoft, Intel and AMD, thousands of hardware devices and software applications are created and sold by other vendors for the PC.For years, the term "open systems" (plural) referred to the Unix world because Unix ran in more types of computer hardware than any other operating system (combined with Linux, it still does). Contrast with closed system.Open Systems vs. Open SourceOpen systems refers to open platforms, whereas open source refers to the software's source code and rights regarding its redistribution. Open systems may employ open source software or proprietary software. See open source.Open Systems vs. Open StandardsOpen systems may or may not employ open standards, the Windows PC being the prime example of an open system that is "not" an open standard (governed by a standards organization).On the other hand, open standards do imply open systems, and the two terms are often used synonymously. However, there is absolutely no reason why an open standard could not be employed within a closed system that cannot be extended or enhanced by a third party. See open standards.