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					                            Computer Software

1. Definition
                   Software is a general term used for the various kinds of programs used
to operate computers and related devices.
                                              OR
The term computer software describes a collection of computer programs, procedures and
documentation that perform some tasks on a computer system.
OR
Computer instructions or data anything that can be stored electronically is software, it
consists of the instructions that tell the computer how to perform a task.
                                              OR
Software is a collection of commands that help users to communicate with the computer
or help the computer to perform specific tasks for them.

2. Explanation
                       Suppose you don’t have any software on your computer, what will
happen when you will turn it on? If you don’t have any software on your computer, when
you turn it on all you would see is a blank screen. So software is what runs your
computer.
                            Every computer has two major parts, the hardware and the
software. The "hard" are the parts that are tangible while the "soft" part is the intangible
objects inside the computer. Software communicates with hardware and makes it useful
as computer use. Hardware contains the physical interconnections and devices required to
store and execute (or run) the software. Hardware and software are made for each other.
If any one of them is absent, a computer will be of no use.

3. Brief History of software
                                         The word “bit” was invented by an American
statistician John Tukey in 1946. He used the word bit for the term “binary digit”
describing 1s and 0s that are the basis of computer programs.
                                                                  In 1958, he invented the
word “software” to describe the programs on which electronic calculators ran.
The idea of stored programs was given by an American mathematician John Von
Neumann in 1945. He designed a model for stored-program digital computer.

4. Function of computer software
                                               Soft wares are step-by-step instructions
that tell the computer hardware how to perform a task. The function of computer software
is to turn all the hardware, such as motherboards and RAM, into working and functional
programs that have use to us as computer uses.
5. How it works
                       Software programs are stored as binary data that is copied to a
computer's hard drive, when the computer is turned on, a useful software program
(operating system) becomes active in a few seconds. The program becomes active in
Random Access Memory (RAM). The computer takes the program from storage and
makes it active in the computer (i.e., ready to use).
                                                             When a computer user wants
to perform a particular function on the computer, the first task is usually to run the
software program necessary for the task. These programs are usually stored in the
computer or on the network.

6. Types of software
                         Generally there are three main types of software.

i) Programming Software
                                A software which helps programmers in the formulation
and writing of computer programs in different types of computer languages.
            Programming software is a tool that software developers use to create, debug
(identify and remove defects from), maintain, or otherwise support other programs and
applications.
                                    Programming software usually provides tools to
assist a programmer in writing computer programs and software using different
programming languages in a more convenient way.
                                                      This type of software is generally
reserved for those computer users who create other programs for computers.

Examples of programming software are

Compilers
             A compiler is a program (or set of programs) that transforms source code
written in a computer language (the source language) into another computer language
(the target language, often having a binary form known as object code).

Debuggers
           A debugger is a computer program that is used to test and debug (identify and
remove defects from) other programs.

Interpreters
              An interpreter is a program designed to run other non-executable programs
directly, without a compiler.



Linkers
        A linker or link editor is a program that takes one or more objects generated by a
compiler and combines them into a single executable program.
Text Editors
              A text editor is a type of program used for editing plain text files.
Text editors are often provided with operating systems or software development
packages, and can be used to change configuration files and programming language
source code.

ii) System software
                         It helps in running the computer hardware and the computer
system. It is software that provides the basic structure over which programs can operate,
i.e. it manages and controls computer hardware so that other application software can
perform.
                        System software is the software that is actually required for a
computer system to function properly.
Examples of system software are

Device drivers
                A device driver is a program that allows a specific device, such as a
modem, network adapter, or printer, to communicate with the operating system. Although
a device might be installed on your system, Windows cannot use the device until you
have installed and configured the appropriate driver.

Operating Systems
                      An operating system, or OS, is a software program that enables the
computer hardware to communicate and operate with the computer software.
Without an operating system, one cannot communicate with computer. When a command
is given to the operating system, it gives the instructions to the 'brain' of the computer,
called the microprocessor or CPU.
When we are working in an application software program, such as Microsoft Word,
commands that we give to the application software are sent through the operating system
to the CPU.
The operating system acts as a host for applications that are run on the computer.
The operating system is the most important program that runs on a computer. Operating
systems perform basic tasks, such as

              Recognizing input from the keyboard
              Sending output to the display screen
              Keeping track of files and directories on the disk
              Controlling peripheral devices such as disk drives and printers.

Windows XP, Windows2000, Window95/98, Mac OS, UNIX and DOS are all examples
of operating systems.



Utility Software
                   Utility software helps in managing, maintaining and controlling of the
computer resources. Hardware, operating system or application software are resources of
computer. Utility software is also known as service program, service routine, tool, or
utility routine. Examples of Utility software are


Virus Scanning Software
                           Virus Scanning Software is utility program designed to
protect the computer from computer viruses. Virus scanning software is critical to uses,
due to the number of computer viruses (small computer programs created to disrupt and
destroy computer files and/or operating system software).

Data Backup Software
                          Backup software is the software that assists you in backing up
your files and even the entire computer hard drive. Data backup software can make a
copy of all information stored on a disk, and restore either the entire disk (e.g. in an event
of disk failure) or selected files (e.g. in an event of accidental deletion).

Scandisk
           Scandisk is a utility provided with Windows computers. Scandisk scans the
disks to see if there are any potential problems on the disk, such as bad disk areas. Since
disks are magnetic media, all disks, including hard drive can be corrupted.
                                      It scans the contents of a hard disk to find files or
areas that are corrupted in some way, or were not correctly saved, and eliminate them for
a more efficiently operating hard drive.

Disk Defragmenter software
                                Disk Defragmenter software assists in keeping reorganized
your disk drives. After files are saved, deleted and resaved again, the disk can become
fragmented; available space is in small blocks located throughout the disk. Disk
defragmenters assemble those free spots and put them together to enable you to continue
to save your data in the most efficient manner.

iii) Application software
                              An application is a computer program designed to help
people perform a certain type of work.
                                        Application software is any tool that functions
and is operated by means of a computer, with the purpose of supporting or improving the
software user's work.



Examples of application software are

Media Players
               Media players are application software that play different types of media;
audio and video. Famous media players are Windows media player, Jet audio, Real
player and Apple iTunes.

Web Browsers
                Web browsers are application software that is used to browse the World
Wide Web (WWW). Most famous and commonly used web browsers are Internet
Explorer, Netscape and Mozilla Firefox.

Multimedia converters
                         Multimedia converters are application software that convert one
type of media to another type for the purpose of accessibility and better quality. A lot of
multimedia converters are available in the market for multimedia mobile phones.

Application suite
                    Multiple applications bundled together as a package are sometimes
referred to as an application suite. Microsoft Office, OpenOffice.org, and iWork, which
bundle together a word processor, a spreadsheet, and several other distinct applications,
are typical examples.

                                          END

Questions/comments/suggestions
Please contact
Bilal Ahmad
+923339285005
power_bilal@yahoo.com

				
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