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What is open protocol?

What is "open" protocol?  I'm reading "Introduction to MODBUS" document.  It says MODBUS is "truly open".  What does that mean?

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The way I understand this is basically it means that the code is readable and editable so it can be manipulated to work in any fashion you see fit.  It is also available for anyone to use so you don't have to worry about getting your pants sued off by a big corporation for using their protocol.  I'd still check with the lawyers though, YMMV.
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