Software is simply a series of instructions that tell a particular computer how to operate. It is quite dissimilar to physical hardware, wherein the machine actually does the actual work and is constructed from scratch. The hardware is typically built on the computer manufacturer’s behalf, and the software is licensed to operate on that specific machine. While there are differences between hardware and software, they also have similarities as well. For instance, both require an application program to be installed on the computer in order for it to function; both require memory in the form of installed programs and files; both need a modem to send and receive data; both run on a central server in order to function.
In the case of Microsoft Windows, application software is what the user sees on their computer screen, while non-Microsoft Windows-based computers use software such as Word Processing or other types of spreadsheets. In the same way that there are different operating systems, there are different types of application software. Most companies produce their own version of Word Processing, as well as versions of spreadsheets like Excel or PowerPoint. Many of these applications are developed by independent programmers, while others are developed by large software developers like Microsoft.
In terms of hardware, the computer system software consists of various microprocessors that perform various tasks, such as manipulating numbers and storing information. There are more sophisticated programs than the ones that you might find in your local supermarket, such as ones that allow you to play games or make movies. Some computers only require basic computer science knowledge to operate. On the other hand, sophisticated software development systems require advanced knowledge of computer science. These advanced systems can only be operated by people who are trained in software development, or by people who work in the computer science industry. Many businesses now require both knowledge of hardware design and software development.
Applications that are developed using application software need not be accessible by the general public. They are usually developed for specific purposes. The system software is used by business and educational institutions to manage their resources and to allow access to files and data. System software must be available to be downloaded from the Internet if you want it to run on a personal computer. In contrast, application software, which includes many printer drivers, operating system software, music software, video software, office software, and other types of program software, must be sold to customers.
The system software and application software need not be developed by computer science specialists per se. They can be developed by ordinary end users who are involved in the application and system design activities. The systems are designed so that they can be used directly by end users, who are trained to use specific functions. In some cases, such training needs to be conducted by professional software engineers who specialize in the particular areas of computer science and engineering. However, even ordinary users can learn to use certain types of computer programs through books and other teaching materials on software engineering, computer applications, and programming.
The application software and system software that are available for end users are sometimes referred to as computer software or computer applications. The names reflect the fact that they are designed for end-users to use instead of for use by computer specialists. Some examples of common computer application software include word processors, spreadsheets, visual basic applications, and office applications such as Microsoft Office. The operating systems that are used on personal computers are referred to as operating systems. Some examples of commonly used operating systems include Windows, Linux, and UNIX.