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Computer Software


Software is a set of programs, procedures, algorithms and its documentation concerned with the operation of a data processing system. 

Program software performs the function of the program it implements, either by directly providing instructions to the computer hardware or by serving as input to another piece of software.

There are many terms used for the process of accessing software including running, executing, starting up, opening, and others. 

Computer programs allow users to complete tasks. A program can also be referred to as an application and the two words are used interchangeably.

Examples of software programs or applications would be the Operating System (DOS, Windows, UNIX, MacOS and various others), Wordprocessor (typing letters), Spreadsheet (financial info), Database (inventory control and address book), Graphics program, Internet Browser, Email and many others.

As well any document that you create, graphic you design, sound you compose, file you make, letter you write, email you send or anything that you create on your computer is referred to as software. All software is stored in files.

Software is available commercially through stores and mail order and also available on the Internet.

The three basic types of software are :
  • commercial
  • shareware
  • open source
Commercial software comes prepackaged and is available from software stores and through the Internet.

Shareware is software developed by individual and small companies that cannot afford to market their software world wide or by a company that wants to release a demonstration version of their commercial product. You will have an evaluation period in which you can decide whether to purchase the product or not. Shareware software often is disabled in some way and has a notice attached to explain the legal requirements for using the product.

Open Source software is created by generous programmers and released into the public domain for public use. There is usually a copyright notice that must remain with the software product. Open Source software is not public domain in that the company or individual that develops the software retains ownership of the program but the software can be used freely. Many popular Open Source applications are being developed and upgraded regularly by individuals and companies that believe in the Open Source concept.


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