7 Major Classification of Computer Software

A computer is valueless without its software in other words software is the soul of computers. There are many types/classification of computer software.

Computer software is generally classified as:

  • System software
  • Application software.

Classification of computer software

System software

System software consists of programs that facilitate the use of a computer by users. These programs perform such standard tasks as organizing and maintaining data files, translating programs written in various languages to a form acceptable to the hardware, scheduling jobs as well as aiding in other areas of computer operations.

On the other hand, application software includes programs designed to perform specific user applications.

Application Software

Application programs can be developed by the users themselves using suitable programming languages. There are many programming languages that allow us to write compute instructions in a text form.

BASIC, FORTRAN, COBOL, PASCAL, C, Java is some well-known programming languages. However, writing application programs using such languages requires expertise and experience in programming and only experienced programmers can write good quality application programs.

Many application programs are now available commercially. Such programs, developed by experienced programmers can be readily employed for user applications.

Classification of computer software
Classification of computer software

These programs are popularly known as application packages or simply packages. MS Word WordPerfect and WordStar for word-processing, Lotus 1-2-3, and MS Excel for spreadsheet and dBASE, FOXPRO, and ORACLE for database management are some popular application packages.

Application program refers to all programs that enable computer users to apply the computer to the work they do. Application programs fall into two categories.

  • Horizontal application and
  • Vertical applications.

Horizontal Applications

They are general-purpose programs that address the needs of many people, such as writing documents (word processing), working with numbers (spreadsheets), and keeping track of information (database). There are three types of horizontal applications.

Personal productivity programs: Most popular programs, examples are word processing programs, spreadsheet programs, database programs, etc.

Multimedia and graphics programs: popular presentation programs, an example is MS PowerPoint.

Internet programs: Programs for using the internet, for instance, e-mail programs, web browsers, etc.

Vertical Applications

They are generally designed for a particular line of business or for a division in a company, for instance, garments production tracking program, restaurant management program, etc.

Vertical software designed for a customer of specific jobs is known as custom software. Generally, vertical software is costly due to the small size of the market.

Commercial software, shareware, and Freeware

Commercial Software is copyrighted and one must pay before using it.

Shareware software is also copyrighted software that one can use on a “try before buy” basis. If a user likes to buy it after using it for a specified trial period, the user must pay the registration.

Freeware refers to copyrighted software given away free, with the understanding that one can not sell it for profit.

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