This topic introduces you to the concept of software. There are three key objectives. At the end of this session, you will be able to:
Explain the concept of software.
List the three types of software:
a) System software
b) Application software
c) Utility software
Explain the concept of an operating system.
Real World Example(s)
You will understand the importance of software with the below example:
• As human beings, we all have varied interests and needs. So, technology has created different types of computers to perform different functions.
• Some computer technologies are commonly used by everybody, whereas others are used only by those people who have specific interest in it.
• Example: Voice Synthesizer is a technology that is developed specially to help the visually impaired communicate with the computer.
Meaning of a program:
• A program is a set of instructions written in a specific order. It is commonly known as software.
• A computer software is a set of programs that controls the hardware. It allows the user to work on the computer.
• A program can be compared to a recipe where step-by-step instructions have to be followed to prepare a dish. If we change the order of these steps, we might spoil the dish.
• Software contains instructions that tell the computer how to function.
• Software cannot be touched or felt.
b) Types of Software:
There are three types of software as listed below:
• System software: System software manages all the programs on the computer.
Example: Operating systems like DOS, Windows, UNIX, and Linux.
• Application software: Application software is used to perform a task.
Example: Microsoft Word is an application that is used to write text and Excel is an application that is used in accounting.
• Utility software: Utility software is used to manage a device.
Example: There is utility software to manage printers, software to manage the hard drive, and so on.
c) Operating System:
An operating system is the most important program that runs on a computer.
The operating system is needed to:
• Run other programs.
• Recognise input from the keyboard.
• Send output to the display screen.
• Keep track of files in our computer.
• Control devices like the printer, scanner, disk drives, etc.