What is software all about?

@zugedanit (1958)
February 12, 2007 2:17pm CST
What is software all about?
1 response
• United States
12 Feb 07
Software is the general term for information that's recorded onto some kind of medium. For example, when you go to the video store and rent or buy a tape or DVD, what you're really getting is the software that's stored on that tape or disk. Your VCR or DVD player are hardware devices that are capable of reading the software from a tape or disk and projecting it onto your TV screen, in the form of a movie. Your computer is a hardware device that reads software too. Most of the software on your computer comes in the form of programs. A program consists of "instructions" that tell the computer what to do, how to behave. Just as there are thousands of albums you can buy on CD for your stereo, and thousands of movies you can buy to play on your VCR or DVD player, there are thousands of programs that you can buy to run on your computer. When you buy a computer, you don't automatically get every program produced by every software company in the world. You usually get some programs. For example, when you buy a computer it will probably have an operating system (like Windows XP) already installed on it. If you do purchase a specific program, it would be to perform some specific task. For example, you might use a graphics program to touch up photos, or you might use a word processing program to write text. You're using your Web browser program right now to read this text (assuming you're not reading a printed copy on paper). Just as there are umpteen different brands of toothpaste, there are umpteen different brands of word processing programs, graphics programs, and Web browsers. For example, all graphics programs are designed to help you work with pictures. But there are many brands of graphics programs out there, including Adobe Photoshop, Jasc Paint Shop Pro. Adobe Illustrator, Arcsoft PhotoStudio, Corel Draw, ULead PhotoImpact, PrintShop Photo, and Macromedia Freehand, just to name a few. As to Web browsers, popular brands include Microsoft Internet Explorer, MSN Explorer, Netscape Navigator, America Online, and a few others. When you purchase a program, you get the program stored on a CD as in the example shown at left. You may not have seen any boxes containing software when you bought your computer. That's because the software that came with your computer has been pre-installed onto your computer's hard disk for you. You don't need to use the CD to run a program that's already installed on your computer. You only need to keep the CDs as backups, in case something goes wrong with your hard disk and you need to re-install the programs.