What is software?

The software is the set of instructions that a computer must follow , that is, all those instructions on what to do and how. The concept of software encompasses everything that is intangible on the computer, which cannot be touched, such as programs and operating systems.This definition contrasts with hardware , which refers to the physical components of the computer, those devices, devices and equipment that can be touched, seen and manipulated. Without the software , no matter how big or expensive the hardware is , it won’t work.

In fact, the word software comes from English; it means “soft merchandise”, as opposed to hardware , which means “hard merchandise”. Today, the word software has become global as a synonym for computer instructions. If we compare a computer with a human being, the software would become like the signals of the nervous system that control the functioning of the body.

Types of Software

Types of software

The softwares are varied and must be adapted to the electronic equipment that you want to operate. For example, planes, smartphones, and word processors work with different softwares . When we use the computer to listen to music, while we write a text and search for information on the internet, many softwares are active at the same time. Let’s see the different types of softwares .


The basic input / output system or BIOS (for its acronym in English, b asic i nput or utput s ystem ) is the initial software with which the computer is started and started. It is the essential software of any computer.

Operating systems

Its function is to control the physical part of a computer to facilitate its use by the user. The operating system takes control of the computer’s activities after the BIOS completes its power-on job. There are various operating systems, among which we can mention Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and Linux for personal computers, iOS and Android for tablets and smartphones. The operating system optimizes the use of the processor, memory and input / output equipment allowing users to run various programs efficiently. The database system tries to maximize memory and disk usage to allow different users to access data at the same time.

Utility programs

They are the computer maintenance programs. For example: information system, disk utility, console and terminal.

Application software

An application is software that helps us do something productive or fun on the computer. It is written to perform a particular function. This function does not have to be directly related to the computer. For example, a word processor helps users create texts. There are two types of software applications: software generic mass commercial use, and software custom made. Among the best known generic applications we have:

  • Powerpoint, with which you can make presentations,
  • Calculator: is the calculator,
  • Google Chrome, to browse the internet,
  • DVD player: with which DVDs are read, among others.
  • An example of custom-made application software is the banking system, which handles a particular domain such as a bank’s customers, accounts, investments, interest, and deposits.

Communication software

The software communication processes allows for computers to communicate with each other. Examples of these are FTP, email, chat rooms and messaging programs.

Embedded software

Video game equipment works with embedded software . The software embedded part of an electronic device and is used to control the functions of the physical parts of the computer. For example, on television sets, airplanes, and video games. When an operator presses a button on an airplane controls command, the software performs the corresponding function. It is characterized because it is designed based on electronic equipment. For example, when we press the microwave keyboard to heat for two minutes at high power, the embedded system orders the microwave to operate at full voltage and turn off after a certain time.

How is the software written ?

The basic form of the first software was binary code . This is a numbering system in which there are only two numbers: 0 and 1. Currently, programmers and software engineers write in programming languages , the best known being C ++, Ada, R and JavaScript.

software free

Importance of the software

Today, software is used to control virtually any electronic device. They are found in the control systems of airplanes, transport and power plants. Also in the electronic devices that we use frequently, such as ovens, microwaves, television and refrigerators. Medical equipment such as pacemakers and diagnostic equipment are also controlled by software . In short, modern society depends on the correct operation of software .

Software engineering

It refers to the application of engineering principles in software construction , that is, the development, operation, and maintenance of software . The professional in charge of this task is known as a system engineer. Let’s make the analogy between a programmer and a system engineer. A programmer writes a complete program as a personalized activity. Instead, a system engineer writes part of the software that will be combined with others to build a system as part of teamwork.

Software System

It is the program responsible for executing all the applications necessary for a system to operate correctly. It is often confused with the operating system but goes further, since it also includes optimization tools, device drivers and servers, among other components.

Programming software

They are all the tools that allow the development of new software . Therefore, they are not usually used by the end user but by programmers. It includes, to mention the most important, the following:

  • Compilers (programs that parse and run other programs).
  • Interpreters ( software that “translates” the different programming languages).
  • Text editors (create and modify text files, programming language or source code).

Application software

An application software is a program designed to facilitate some specific tasks for any computing medium, be it computers, tablets or cell phones.

Video games, assisted design programs (such as CAD), software used in telecommunications, business or educational productivity applications are some examples of this type of program.

Software malicious or malicious

Also used in its original form in English malicious software or simply malware, it is the one created for illegal purposes such as obtaining private information from the user or damaging the system.

Hardware vs. Software

Software and free software owner

The concept of free software is used to refer to those programs that allow the user to use, copy, modify and distribute it. To make these actions effective, it is necessary that said software include the source code. Some examples are the Mozilla Firefox browser, the Clam Win Free antivirus and the QCad assisted design application. In opposition to this term, proprietary software is used to indicate that a computer program is not completely free. In this sense, the owner of the software prohibits or restricts its use, redistribution or modification. In this case, the source code is not included. The Windows operating system, the Microsoft Office application package, the Photoshop graphic editing program are some of the best-known proprietary software .

Software and hardware

Both computer concepts are interrelated. The hardware is the physical elements that make up a computer system (for example, the keyboard or the CPU), while the software is the software and intangible (for example, an antivirus program or a word processor) and that allows developing various functions.