We present an actor language which is an extension of a simple functional language, and provide an operational semantics for this extension. Actor configurations represent open distributed systems, by which we mean that the specification of an actor system explicitly takes into account the interface with external components. We study the composability of such systems. We define and study various notions of testing equivalence on actor expressions and configurations. The model we develop provides fairness. An important result is that the three forms of equivalence, namely, convex, must, and may equivalences, collapse to two in the presence of fairness. We further develop methods for proving laws of equivalence and provide example proofs to illustrate our methodology.
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