Computer Software

Computer software, or just software, is any set of machine-readable instructions (most often in the form of a computer program) that directs a computer's processor to perform specific operations. The term is used to contrast with computer hardware, the physical objects (processor and related devices) that carry out the instructions. Hardware and software require each other and neither has any value without the other. Firmware is software that has been permanently stored in hardware (specifically in non-volatile memory). Thus, it has qualities of both software and hardware. Software is a general term. It can refer to all computer instructions in general, or to any specific set of computer instructions. It is inclusive of both machine instructions (the binary code that the processor understands) and source code (more human-understandable instructions that must be rendered into machine code by compilers or interpreters before being executed).
On most computer platforms, software can be grouped into a few broad categories:

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Operating Systems

An operating system (OS) is a collection of software that manages computer hardware resources and provides common services for computer programs. The operating system is an essential component of the system software in a computer system. Application programs usually require an operating system to function. Time-sharing operating systems schedule tasks for efficient use of the system and may also include accounting software for cost allocation of processor time, mass storage, printing, and other resources. For hardware functions such as input and output and memory allocation, the operating system acts as an intermediary between programs and the computer hardware, although the application code is usually executed directly by the hardware and will frequently make a system call to an OS function or be interrupted by it. Operating systems can be found on almost any device that contains a computer—from cellular phones and video game consoles to supercomputers and web servers. Examples of popular modern operating systems include Android, BSD, iOS, GNU/Linux, OS X, QNX, Microsoft Windows, Windows Phone, and IBM z/OS. All these, except Windows and z/OS, share roots in UNIX.

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Application Software

Application software is all the computer software that causes a computer to perform useful tasks (compare with computer viruses) beyond the running of the computer itself. A specific instance of such software is called a software application, program, application or app. The term is used to contrast such software with system software, which manages and integrates a computer's capabilities but does not directly perform tasks that benefit the user. The system software serves the application, which in turn serves the user. Examples include accounting software, enterprise software, graphics software, media players, and office suites. Many application programs deal principally with documents. Applications may be bundled with the computer and its system software or published separately, and can be coded as university projects. Application software applies the power of a particular computing platform or system software to a particular purpose. Some applications are available in versions for several different platforms; others have narrower requirements and are thus called, for example, a Geography application for Windows, an Android application for education, or Linux gaming. Sometimes a new and popular application arises which only runs on one platform, increasing the desirability of that platform. This is called a killer application.

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