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Express Learning - Computer Fundamentals and Programming by ITL ESL, Ashok Kamthane

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Computer Software
and Programming
1. What do you understand by software and software package?
Ans:  Software is a generic term for organized collection of computer data and instructions. It is
responsible for controlling, integrating and managing the hardware components of a computer and
to accomplish specific tasks. In other words, software tells the computer what to do and how to do it.
For example, software instructs the hardware what to display on the user’s screen, what kinds of input
to take from the user and what kinds of output to generate. Thus, software communicates with the
hardware by organizing the control sequences and the hardware carries out the instructions defined by
the software. As we know, a computer needs to be instructed to perform any task. Therefore, the user
issues instructions and the CPU acts in accordance with the instructions. Thus, these set of instruc-
tions, which control the sequence of operations, are known as ‘programs’, and collectively programs
are called ‘software’. It is an intangible commodity, that is, the part of a computer system that users
cannot touch.
A set of programs that are specifically written to provide the user a precise functionality such
as solving a specific problem is termed as a ‘software package’. For example, word-processing
software package provides functionality to the user to create text documents such as letters and mail-
ing lists. Similarly, an image-processing software package assists a user in drawing and manipulating
graphics.
2. Differentiate between software and hardware.
Ans: ‘Software’ refers to the computer programs that are loaded into a computer system, whereas
‘hardware’ refers to all the visible devices, which are assembled together to build a computer system.
Therefore, one can say that the software is a set of instructions that tells the hardware what to do and
how to perform the requested actions. There are some differences between software and hardware,
which are listed in Table 4.1.
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Computer Software and Programming I-59
Table 4.1 Differences Between Software and Hardware
Basis of Difference Software Hardware
Types Some software types are system software,
programming software and application software.
Some hardware types are motherboard, CPU, RAM,
BIOS, power supply, CD-ROM drive, video display
controller, computer bus and floppy disk.
Interdependency To deliver its set of instructions, software is
installed on hardware.
It starts functioning once software is loaded.
Function It controls, integrates and manages the
hardware components of a computer to
accomplish specific tasks.
It serves as the delivery system for
software solutions.
Failure Software failure is systematic. It does not have
an increasing failure rate.
Its failure is random. It does have increasing failure
rate.
Reliability It needs constant testing after upgrades. It stays at steady reliability level in useful life.
Examples Quickbooks, Adobe Acrobat, Winoms-Cs, Inter-
net Explorer, Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel
are some examples of software.
CD-ROM, monitors, scanners, printers, video cards,
routers, modems and label makers are some examples
of hardware.
3. Describe the different types of software with examples.
Ans:  Software can be classified into two categories, namely, system software and application
software. ‘System software’ is a generic term for referring to any computer program whose purpose is
to help the user to run the computer system, whereas ‘application software’ employs the capabilities of
a computer directly to a task that the user wishes to perform. As an analogy, one can equate an electric
bulb to an application and the electric power generation plant with system. The power plant merely
generates electricity. It is not really of any use until harnessed to an application such as the electric
bulb, which performs a service that the user desires. Figure 4.1 illustrates the different categories of
software.
Figure 4.1 Software Categories
Software
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M04_ITL-ESL4791_01_SE_C04.indd 59 12/22/2012 4:53:45 PM

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