Topic: open systems

topics > computer science > Group: systems

digital communication
distributed systems
goals for a programming system
operating system
software maintenance

a single system image
client-server model for distributed systems
communicating sequential processes
design for change
disorientation in a user interface
document-centered system
embedded systems
error safe systems
extensible languages
limitations of formalism
limitations of system security
list processing
non-constraining system
problem solving
program listing
public domain software
reflex circle
resourceful, redundant systems for reliability
self-regulating systems
software documentation
source-rich system
specification and design of distributed systems
system integration
type reflection and introspection
understanding systems
user-centered operating system
World-Wide Web


An open system is everywhere visible to everyone. Users can tell exactly what the system is doing, know how to learn more about something, and learn how to make the system perform. Everything in the system is defined in the system. Also everything is changeable by any user. Also from the system can do everything. For example, ZOG and Lisp are their own command environment.

Also called source-rich environment. (cbb 6/89)

Subtopic: openness vs. privacy/security up

Quote: most users most of the time prefer openness over privacy [»kernBW9_1978]
Quote: the hands-on imperative--access to computers and knowledge should be unlimited and total; e.g., taking things apart to create better things [»levyS_1984]
Quote: the hacker wants to fix what is broken; e.g., take apart a traffic light's control box and make it work better [»levyS_1984]

Subtopic: open system -- diverse, decentralized information up

Quote: the Web has anarchic scalability; works despite load, malicious data, unknown servers, no state, no lists of back references, multiple trust boundaries [»fielRT5_2002]
Quote: open systems deal with large quantities of diverse information and massive concurrency; asynchronous, decentralized, inconsistent, continuous [»hewiC7_1986]
Quote: a free exchange of information requires a decentralized, open system without bureaucracy or authorities [»levyS_1984]
Quote: open, distributed systems have decentralized decision making [»hewiC4_1985]
Quote: open, distributed systems never halt, accept input from unanticipated sources, output anytime [»hewiC4_1985]
Quote: electronic-banking is an example of an open, distributed system [»hewiC4_1985]
Quote: a data model should treat persistence, sharing and structure independently [»balzRM_1986]
Quote: a defined system has explicit options, is flexible, not defined by fiat [»waltPL11_1979]
Note: goal is a radical improvement in code generation using a publicly developed database [»cbb_1990, OK]

Subtopic: local state and local processes up

Quote: the parts of an open system only keep track of own state and interfaces to other agents; use explicit communication [»hewiC7_1986]
Quote: in an open system, control must be distributed so that local decisions are made where needed; uses local information [»hewiC7_1986]
Quote: a source-full environment, like Lisp, includes access to all functions; yet usually no access to operating system, compiler, or applications [»weisM11_1987]
Quote: in the process paradigm no system-wide knowledge, no superuser, no centralized management; everything is distributed [»stroR10_1986]
Quote: REST interactions are stateless; they transfer representations of identified resources
Quote: REST manipulates resources and concepts by transferring representations using a resource identifier and generic interface; allows independent authoring across multiple trust domains [»fielRT5_2002]

Subtopic: continuous operation up

Quote: a design goal for Multics was continuous operation like electric power or the telephone network [»corbFJ_1979]
Quote: open systems must be designed so that operating components take over from failed components during repair [»hewiC7_1986]
Quote: allow online addition and removal of performance-oriented structures for databases; do not stop the database [»coddEF_1990]

Subtopic: inconsistency up

Quote: conjecture of inconsistency: any axiomatizations of human knowledge is uniformly inconsistent [»hewiC4_1985]
Quote: conjecture of perpetual inconsistency: any axiomatizations of human knowledge will always be inconsistent [»hewiC4_1985]
Quote: an open system must deal with inconsistent information; e.g., decisions based on partial evidence [»hewiC7_1986]
Quote: a model theory should permit incomplete and inconsistent worlds; need to localize inconsistencies [»sowaJF_1984]

Subtopic: constancy and irregularity up

Quote: in an open, changing system such as our bodies, constancy is evidence for homeostatic agencies [»weinGM_1979]
Quote: language is not complete, e.g. calculus; it is like an ancient city of many little streets surrounded by more regular suburbs [»wittL_1958a]

Subtopic: extendible up

Quote: the dynamic languages Self, Smalltalk, and Lisp give you the sense of building--not writing--sofware; you watch your program emerge from objects, methods, and attributes; you try out objects as you go [»ungaD9_2007]
Quote: want an architecture that allows users to open up and modify any module; without a "wall" that prevents further progress [»myerBA_1992]
Quote: for future applications, a message interface includes messages for all relevant information; currently unused messages are ignored [»katzL_1981]
Quote: EROS uses capabilities to run active systems of user code; allows broken or hostile code [»shapJS1_2002]

Subtopic: non-open systems up

Quote: in many programs, the only commands are those defined by the program; e.g., can not use an editor to rename files in a directory listing [»teslL8_1981]
Quote: the first automobile manufacturers where secretive about their designs and methods; used unique screws and parts; eventually opened up [»weisM11_1987]

Related Topics up

Group: digital communication   (11 topics, 296 quotes)
Group: distributed systems   (14 topics, 348 quotes)
Group: goals for a programming system   (21 topics, 983 quotes)
Group: operating system   (27 topics, 924 quotes)
Group: software maintenance   (14 topics, 368 quotes)

Topic: a single system image (30 items)
Topic: client-server model for distributed systems (25 items)
Topic: communicating sequential processes (33 items)
Topic: design for change (76 items)
Topic: disorientation in a user interface (13 items)
Topic: document-centered system (12 items)
Topic: embedded systems (26 items)
Topic: error safe systems (76 items)
Topic: extensible languages (71 items)
Topic: limitations of formalism (93 items)
Topic: limitations of system security (39 items)
Topic: list processing (15 items)
Topic: non-constraining system (25 items)
Topic: problem solving (32 items)
Topic: program listing (14 items)
Topic: public domain software (9 items)
Topic: reflex circle (20 items)
Topic: resourceful, redundant systems for reliability (38 items)
Topic: self-regulating systems (23 items)
Topic: software documentation (64 items)
Topic: source-rich system (27 items)
Topic: specification and design of distributed systems (14 items)
Topic: system integration (5 items)
Topic: type reflection and introspection (28 items)
Topic: understanding systems (48 items)
Topic: user-centered operating system (24 items)
Topic: World-Wide Web
(42 items)

Updated barberCB 6/05
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Thesa is a trademark of C. Bradford Barber.