This article is the eighth article in the series how computers work. For this article, the different type of software available for the personal computer will be explored. Without software, the computer would be nothing but a large electronic paperweight. It is the software that transforms the circuits and transistors into a device that can be utilized for a variety of purposes.
There are several types of software available for use with a personal computer. Much of the software is optional while some of the software is needed to operate the computer. The three major types of software are system, programming and application. Each type will be explained in detail below.
This software is necessary for the system to operate. System software includes operating systems, device drivers and utilities that all work together to ensure that the computer system can operate both the hardware devices and any additional installed software.
Examples of system software include the various versions of Windows including XP, 2000 and Vista, the Mac OS, Novell Netware, UNIX and Linux.
Programming software is used to aid programmers in the creation and writing of computer programs in a variety programming languages. This type of software includes editors, compilers, debuggers and interpreters. All of the software works together to allow the programmer to create an application from start to finish. The tools may vary depending on what type of application and platform the programmer is designing.
Examples of programming software include text editors, Microsoft Visual Studio and C++ builder. This is the real geeky software!
The application software is the most common software for the end user. This is the software that allows the end user to play games, write documents, surf the Internet – basically allows the user to interact with the system and perform some type of task.
Examples of application software include Microsoft Word, Microsoft Outlook, Internet Explorer, AOL Instant Messenger and thousands of other types ranging from games to word processors.
Application software comes in many forms and a variety of price ranges. Many programmers provide their software on a shareware or freeware basis that allows you to try out their software for a small fee or for free. Other software must be purchased starting a very low cost and moving up in price depending on the application. Most of the higher end applications are developed for companies and not the average end user.
Traditionally software has been installed on the computer in order to use the application. With the popularity and easy access of the Internet, many software vendors are now providing their software via the Internet. This way the end user does not have to install anything on their system not worry about updates or issues running the software.
Of course, the best software available for a personal computer is the huge variety of games. Computers would not be much fun without the occasional game of solitaire or something more exciting. Listed below are some classic games for the personal computer that are sure to keep you occupied!