A Software is a set of instructions, data or programs used to operate computers and execute specific tasks.
It is an essential part of the machine you cannot or can see, although it allows users to use the computer.
Additionally, software applications are also referred to as non-essential software. Usually, the installed software on a computer operates based on the user requirement.
Generally, the software categories are grouped by the function they perform. Hence, there are two broad types of software, namely; Application Software and Systems Software.
By definition, application software is productivity programs or end-user programs.
The software in this category helps users in creating documents, databases, publications, doing online research, sending emails, designing graphics, running businesses, and playing games.
Secondly, application software has specific tasks that they are developed for.
Currently, the number of such applications keeps increasing with technological advances and the evolving needs of the users.
Therefore, the following are categories of application software;
Applications in this category are mainly used to store data and sort information. They include Oracle, MS Access and FileMaker Pro.
Word processing software
These are tools used in creating word sheets and other types of documents. These include Microsoft Word, WordPad, AppleWorks, and Notepad.
Additionally, internet browsers are also software. Usually, they are used to access and view websites.
Examples of internet browsers include; Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Opera Mini and Google Chrome.
To add to the above, multimedia software are tools used for a mixture of audio, video, image and text content.
Examples are Real Player and Media Player.
Generally, this is a collection of related programs sold as a package. They include Microsoft Office and Open Office.
By definition, communication software is a tool that connects systems and allows text, audio, and video-based communication.
Examples of communication software are MS NetMeeting, IRC, and ICQ.
Normally, email programs are software used for emailing. Some examples of email programs are; Microsoft Outlook, Gmail and Apple Mail.
The main function of Spreadsheet Software is to compute quantitative data. Some examples of spreadsheet software include; Apple Numbers, Microsoft Excel, and Quattro Pro.
The system software is programs that are dedicated to managing the computer itself, such as the operating system, file management utilities, and disk operating system (or DOS).
Secondly, the operating system manages the computer hardware (the physical components that you can see and touch, such as the computer hard drive, mouse, and keyboard) resources in addition to applications and data.
Most noteworthy, System Software is crucial in managing the whole computer system since they help the user’s, hardware and application software to interact and function together.
Further, they allow a platform for other software and applications to work in. Usually, when users boost their computers, the system software is initially loaded into memory.
Unlike application software, it only runs in the background of your device, at the most basic level while you use other application software therefore also termed as “low-level software”.
Examples of System Software
1. Operating system
The operating system is the most popular and widely used category of System Software.
An operating software system may be defined as a collection of software that handles resources and provides general services for the opposite applications that are compatible with it.
As a result, it dictates how users interact with the system, hence, many users prefer using a specific OS for their devices.
All computer-like devices, for example, desktop, laptop, smartphone, and tablet run on an operating system. Examples of operating systems include:
- Apple’s OS
- Google’s Android
- Windows Phone OS*
For laptops, desktops, and tablets
- Microsoft Windows
- Mac (apple devices)
2. Programming Language Translators
This category comprises of programs on which other programs depend on to translate high-level language code to simpler machine-level code.
Furthermore, they also assign data storage and rectify system errors during runtime. Examples include; interpreter, compiler, and assemblers.
This category comprises of permanent software that is implanted into read-only memory.
Additionally, the firmware has a set of instructions permanently stored on a hardware device providing crucial data on how the device interacts with other hardware.
Examples are BIOS, consumer applications and computer peripherals.
4. Device Drivers
This category comprises types of software that control particular hardware that is attached to the system.
Usually, hardware devices that need a driver to connect to a system include displays, sound cards, printers, mice and hard disks.
Moreover, there are two types of device drivers: Kernel Device Drivers and User Device Driver.
Some examples of device drivers are USB drivers, ROM drivers and printer drivers.
This category of programs is designed to aid in analyzing, optimizing, configuring and maintaining a computer system.
Above all, it supports the computer infrastructure, focusing on how an OS functions then decide its trajectory to smoothen the functioning of the system. For examples, Avast anti-virus, Mcfee Anti-virus, and Piriform Cleaner.
There exist other classifications of software based on their availability and sharability.
These programs are available at no cost and users can download it from the internet.
Basically, subscribers use them for free.
Furthermore, these programs do not provide any liberty for modification of the software or charging a fee for its distribution.
Examples are; Adobe Reader, Skype, and Yahoo messenger.
Programs in this category are freely distributed to users on a trial basis. However, they usually come with a time limit.
Users pay for the continued services when the time limit expires. Popular examples of shareware are; Adobe Acrobat, Winzip, and Getright.
Programs in this category are available to users with the source code. Hence, users can freely distribute and modify the software as well as add additional features to the software.
Open-Source software can either be free or chargeable. Examples include Mozilla Firefox, Thunderbird and Apache Webserver.
These types of applications are usually paid and have intellectual property rights or patents over the source code.
Consequently, their use is very restricted and source code is preserved and kept as a secret. Examples include Twitter, Java, and Youtube.
To sum up, I have clearly discussed different types of software and examples in each category.
Usually, the classification of software depends on functionality, cost of usage, accessibility, and nature of source code.
Importantly, a good understanding of different types of software will aid in the proper choice and use of the software.
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