What is Software

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.
Concept Explanation
a) Program:
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.

There are different operating systems available. Some examples are Windows, UNIX, Linux and Mac. Windows is the most popular of all. Voice Synthesiser JAWS supports Windows.
Check Your Understanding
This exercise is to make sure you have understood the following concepts:
a) What is a program?
Answer:
b) Application software controls all other programs on the computer. State whether true or false?
Answer:
c) What are the different types of software?
Answer:
d) What does an Operating System do?
Answer:
Summary and Takeaway
• We have learnt that computer software contains instructions that tell the computer how to function.
• Operating systems are the most important program in our computers. They run all other programs.
• Utility software manages devices like the printer, hard drive, and so on.
• A program is a set of instructions written in a specific order. It is commonly known as software.
• Application software is used to perform a task.
• The three types of software are System software, application software and utility software.
• An Operating System recognizes input from the keyboard, sends output to the display screen, keeps track of files in our computer, controls devices like the printer, scanner, mouse, etc.

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