The programs you buy in the box off your dealer's shelves, in person or through the Web, the ones you run to do actual work on your computer, are its applications. The word is actually short for application software. These are programs with a purpose, programs you apply to get something done. They are the dominant beasts of computing, the top of the food chain, the colorful boxes in the store, the software you actually pay for. Everything else in your computer system, hardware and software alike, exists merely to make your applications work. Your applications determine what you need in your computer simply because they won't run—or run well—if you don't supply them with what they want.

Today's typical application comes on one or ...

Get Winn L. Rosch Hardware Bible, Sixth Edition now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.