Understanding Computer Systems

Understanding Computer Systems

The two main software groups are “software applications” and “hardware applications.” Software applications are typically designed to run on a computer. Software applications may also be written as applications for other platforms such as the Apple Macintosh, Linux/Unix, AIX, Windows and many more. While some software development companies focus only on developing software, others also provide services for software implementation. Some companies provide both software and services.

Computer software can be divided into different types: object-oriented software, service oriented software, and embedded software. The latter types are often termed “software as a service” (SaaS) or “software as an integrated service.” Both object oriented and service oriented computer software have their own advantages and disadvantages. The following examples will show the main characteristics of these three groups.

System software normally consists of the computer operating system, driver software, support software, preload software, security software, and language bindings. The most popular examples of system software are the Windows operating system, Sun’s OpenOffice office suite, the Linux kernel, and the Unix kernel. Many systems come with a default installation that consists of a set of utilities like the dos command line and a compact description text file. Most users do not require any additional or advanced system software.

Application software, on the other hand, consists of the computer system’s drivers, its terminals, and its graphical user interface. Examples include the Java platform, the Apache server, the Win32 library, the Photoshop library, and the PHP interpreter. While some application software requires the downloading of necessary files and installation of needed utilities, most of it is built into the operating system. There are some examples that allow the user to download, install, and run third party plug-ins, and there are examples that allow the user to create his own application software. One famous example of an application software is the Abode java platform, which is used by the production team at Google.

On the other hand, in the realm of system software, there are two basic categories: hardware and platform. Platform software consists of the host operating systems, such as Unix, Linux, Windows, Mac OS, and others; the drivers, which usually reside in the user’s local area computer (OS), and the standard operating systems themselves. Examples include the Linux kernel, Sun’s OpenVZ, Microsoft’s Window NT, and others. Most hardware driven system software comes as a packaged solution with the specific hardware that needs to be used. Most users of such software do not need any extra installation or drivers.

Operating systems, hardware, and application software, although they are seemingly simple concepts, have many different types and kinds. To ensure proper utilization of both, it is important to understand computer systems from different types and kinds. To this end, there are different types of software reference books that will help users understand computer systems.

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