Software is simply a series of instructions that tell a computer how to perform a certain task. There are different types of software programs and each type has specific functions that can be used to help a user with a particular task. The word software also refers to the applications that make up this type of software. This is opposed to hardware, in which only the machine itself performs the specific function and is usually very complex in design.
Software is categorized into five main categories according to its use. These include embedded systems, general purpose operating systems, user modes, platform management systems, and computer science. In the article above, we discussed four main categories of software: embedded systems, user modes, platforms, and computer science. This article will discuss the fifth category, computer science, in detail. It is important to mention here that there are overlap categories in this section as well.
Computer System Software is the hardware that provides the means for a computer to communicate with external software components and also manages the hardware side of interactions between software and hardware. Usually, this is what is found on a desktop PC. Examples of common system software that most people are familiar with are MSN messenger, MSN browser, and Office suite. Windows operating system is probably the most widely used system software package on the planet today, and is arguably the most important piece of software in the entire Windows architecture. Other common system software packages include Sun’s Open Office suite, Linux kernels, and Unix kernels.
Embedded System Software consists of system software components that are built into a CPU or an external device such as a flash drive or CD/DVD burner. The most popular example of this is the Linux kernel. Device drivers are usually needed for embedded computer hardware to operate. For instance, the USB or FireWire port requires device drivers in order to interface with the operating system and other computer programs. Examples of popular embedded system software include proprietary operating systems like the Linux kernel, Sun’s OpenOffice suite, and Microsoft’s Windows.
Programming examples are software applications created to demonstrate a specific functionality. It may be a complex piece of software with a number of examples. Examples can be any piece of code that demonstrates a specific operation, process, concept, or algorithm. Programmers love working on programming examples because it is an excellent way to practice different language features. Some programmers even create more complex examples as part of their regular programming work in order to understand the full scope of their subject matter.
Operating system software is necessary for computer instructions to be properly executed by the computer hardware. Examples include operating systems like Linux, Sun’s Solaris, or Microsoft’s Window operating system. Examples of application software can be any piece of code that facilitates the proper execution of computer instructions.