What is Software? – Definition, Types, and More

Software Definition

Software is a computer term that refers to a program or set of computer programs, as well as data, procedures, and guidelines that allow different tasks to perform on a computer system.

This term commonly used to refer in a very generic way to the programs of a computing device. However, it encompasses everything intangible in a computer system.

It is a term from the English language, accepted by the RAE and which does not have a translation that adjusts to Spanish.

What are the types of software?

In general, various types of it can be distinguished depending on the use or utility:

Software System

  1. It is the program responsible for executing all the applications necessary for a system to operate correctly.
  2. It is often confusing with the operating system.
  3. Still, it goes further, since it also includes optimization tools, device drivers and servers, among other components.

Programming software

They are all the tools that allow the new development. Therefore, they are not usually used by the end-user but by programmers. It includes to mention the most important, the following:

  1. Compilers (programs that parse and run other programs)
  2. Interpreters (that “translates” the different programming languages)
  3. Text editors (create and modify text files, programming language, or source code)

Application software

  1. It is a program design to facilitate some specific tasks for any computing medium, be it computers, tablets, or cell phones.
  2. Video games, assisted design programs (such as CAD), it used in telecommunications, educational, or business productivity applications are some examples of this type of program.

Software and the free software owner

  • The concept of free software used to refer to those programs that allow the user to use, copy, modify, and distribute it.
  • To make the actions effective, it must include the source code.
  • Some examples are the Mozilla Firefox browser, the Clam Win Free antivirus, and the QCad assisted design application.
  • In opposition to this term, proprietary used to indicate that a computer program is not entirely free.
  • The owner of it prohibits or restricts its use, redistribution, or modification. In this case, the source code not included.

Software and hardware

  • Both computer concepts interrelated. The hardware is the physical elements that make up a computer system (for example, the keyboard or the CPU).
  • At the same time, the software is the intangible (for example, an antivirus program or a word processor), and that allows developing various functions.

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