Open Platforms vs Closed Platforms (Technology) - Explained
What is an Open and Closed Platform?
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Table of ContentsWhat is an Open Platform and Closed Platform?How Does an Open and Closed Platform Work? Windows: An Open and a Closed Platform Apple Mac OS X: Open Platform
What is an Open Platform and Closed Platform?
In the world of software computing, an Open Platform is a software program that has provision for:
- open application programming interfaces (API),
- flexible scope to use the software for purposes other than as it was intended,
- open source code that can be edited by users to tailor it to their needs,
- free adoptability - usage without going through official channels, or
- adaptability - editing functionality of specific features.
Incorporating any of the five factors stated above, makes a software program an Open Platform. Software that does not have any such provisions are called Closed Platforms.
How Does an Open and Closed Platform Work?
While all Open Source platforms are Open Platforms, not all Open Platforms are Open Source. For example, Fission is an Open Source platform that allows users to write short duration functions in a programming language of their choice.
An Open Platform can be made up of components that are open as well as closed. For example, Microsoft Windows has an Open API, and unlimited scope flexibility, yet its source code is Closed and proprietary.
An Open Platform vendor allows for certain components of its software to be edited, modified, and adapted to different functionalities. This allows for innovative use of software applications - the kind not envisioned by the developer yet arrived at by the users.
Open standards that are publicly available is the way to offer non proprietary components within an Open Platform. These are softwares that allow public access to the building blocks of applications.
While most Operating System platforms in the recent past have been Closed, plenty of mobile OS platforms still remain Open A lot of OS have App Stores that allow installation of external applications. This is also called sideloading.
OS platforms that do not allow such installations are protected by DMCA regulations and jailbreaking such platforms to install external apps is considered illegal. With the exception of mobile devices, jailbreaking is a crime on most devices with limited scope and Closed Platforms.
Windows: An Open and a Closed Platform
Microsoft Windows happens to be a unique case of an Open as well as a Closed Platform. While users are free to install any and all software applications on a Windows desktop on an intel device, without any negative repercussions, the same cannot be said of Windows on ARM. Windows RT, as it is known is the same software but a closed platform with limited installation permissions. Only products developed by Microsoft can be installed on these devices.
Apple Mac OS X: Open Platform
While the Mac OS X by Apple exercises a lot of restrictions on the App Store, developers are allowed to distribute apps by side-stepping the App Store. Unlike the iOS, Mac OS allows app installations outside of the App Store, users are not restricted in downloading softwares from external platforms.