Along with the hardware, learning about software forms the most basic of computer knowledge. In this OpinionFront article, we shall look at the different types of computer software, along with examples of each.
A software is a collection of programs that helps one communicate with the hardware of the computer. There are different types of computer software which are useful for several purposes. In learning about computers, the first step usually is to understand the major types of software, their uses, and applications. In the following sections, we present a list of computer software and their examples, categorized according to their different types.
System software coordinates the complete system hardware and provides an environment or platform for all the other types of software to work in. It is the most basic type of software in any computer system, which is essential for other programs, applications and indeed for the whole computer system to function.
(System software examples – Microsoft Windows XP, Mac OS, Linux, Windows Vista, Ubuntu, device drivers, etc.)
Application software are those that help the user perform the tasks of his/her choice. They are non-essential software which are installed and run depending upon the requirements, in the environment provided by the system software.
(Application software examples – MS Office, OpenOffice, Media Players, MS Access, educational software, media development software, Antivirus software, etc. )
Programming software are used to write, test, debug and develop other software programs and applications. The various programming language editors such as Eclipse- a Java language editor, come under this category. They are used for creating both the system as well as application software.
(Programming software examples – Turbo C, Xilinx, Kiel, compilers, debuggers, Integrated Development Environment (IDE), etc.)
Apart from the above major types of software, there are many other sub-types such as the ones mentioned below.
Freeware– Freeware are a type of software that anyone can download from the Internet and use for free.
(Examples – Google Talk, Yahoo Messenger, uTorrent, etc.)
Shareware– Shareware are usually distributed for free on a trial basis. It can be shared without violation of any laws. They usually stop working or prompt the user to purchase the full version, once the trial period expires.
(Examples – BearShare, Kazaa, Winzip, etc.)
Registry Cleaners– When you install a lot of software, games, etc., your computer’s registry gets clogged. Registry cleaners are used to clean up or delete all the invalid registry entries which has the benefit of speeding up your computer.
(Examples- TuneUp Utilities, Eusing, etc.)
Content Control Software– These software allow you to control the content that can be accessed by a user on a computer. They are mostly used for restricting access over the Internet.
(Example- K9 Web Protection, PGSurfer, etc.)
Project Management Software– As its name suggests, project management software is a software package that helps multiple users to work on a project simultaneously. It allows them to schedule events, network with the other users, allocate resources, etc.
(Example- Microsoft Office Project Server, HyperOffice, 24SevenOffice, etc.)
Utility Software– They are usually small programs that help in the management of the hardware and the application software, installed on a computer.
(Example- Disk defragmenters, Disk cleaners, etc.)
Open Source Software– This is a type of software the source code for which is available to all users (open). As such, anyone can make changes to it and release their own new version.
(Example- Android OS, OpenOffice, etc.)
Browsers– Browsers are software that let you surf or browse the Internet.
(Example- Internet Explorer, Safari, Mozilla Firefox, etc.)
With constant advancements in the field of software engineering, several new software and applications are being developed every day. Hence, the list provided above shouldn’t be considered definitive, as in the coming years, many more newer types of software would have been developed.