What is software? What are the types and methods of distribution? Staying on the subject of digital products we cannot be indifferent to the software. Surely, you know this word, but do you know what it means? Read the text below and find out the definition of software as well the most popular types and methods of distribution.
What is software? – table of contents:
What is software?
Before answering the question of how to sell software, we should try to explain its definition. Some use synonymously the term “computer program” but the meaning of software is broader. The easiest way to write is to state that software is instruction and procedure written in the computer code, which enables it to perform specific and concrete functions.
To software we can include: operational systems, commercial programs (for example Microsoft Word), applications, drivers, controllers, or even malicious software such as computer viruses.
Types of Software
- Application software
- web browsers (Chrome, Opera, Firefox);
- communication software (Skype, Zoom, Slack);
- text processing software (Microsoft Word, Notebook, Google Docs);
- e-mail software (Outlook, Gmail, Apple Mail);
- games and applications.
- System software
- operating systems – in the case of computers, laptops, and tablets we distinguish operational systems: Microsoft Windows, Linux, and macOS. There are operating systems on smartphones include Apple IOS, Google Android, and Windows Phone. The computer (and other devices) without an operating system is just a piece of equipment, that does not operate anything and does not perform any function;
- firmware – is a type of software that controls the operation of electronic devices. Usually delivered by the software producer, thanks to this the software is technically customized to the device;
- programming software – the software or sometimes called programming tool (development tool) is the type of tool that helps to create the other type of software. These are for example assemblers, debuggers, compilers, and integrated development environments;
- driver software – the drivers are responsible for communication between the components of the device and the operating system, thanks to this software the system knows how to use the selected device. The devices such as graphics cards, mice, keyboards, and network cards have their drivers.
Application software is probably the most popular type of software because it is designed for end users. The goal of the software is to help people to make certain tasks, which makes them so commonly used every day by so many people. The examples of the application software are:
System software is designed to become a platform and enable the operation of the other software. Among the examples are:
Software distribution methods
There are several ways of distributing and sharing software. The popular types of licenses are discussed below. Those licenses regulate legally the terms and conditions of use and the principles of remuneration.
- Microsoft Teams;
- Adobe Reader;
- Adobe PDF.
- Freemium – the user can use the specific part of free functions for an unlimited period. Advanced functions are available only after the purchase of the free version of the program.
- Adware – the user has two options: either he will allow the advertisement or he will buy the full license (without advertisement).
- Donationware – the user is asked to pay the author the symbolic sum, which value depends on the type of licensee.
- Demoware – the user has access to the free, incomplete version of the software of the full package, but for a limited period.
- Nagware – in this version the user gets constant updates and reminders to pay for the selected software. The application of watermarks is a popular practice as well.
- Open Source
- Proprietary software
This type of license allows free usage and distribution of the software. The creator allows free usage of the source code, without disclosing or sharing it. The users cannot benefit financially from this type of software. In some of the versions of licenses there, it is marked that free software is intended for domestic purposes. Companies can sometimes require paid licenses. The examples of freeware are:
Similarly to freeware, shareware allows free usage of the software. A free trial is possible only for a limited period, after which the owner requires a specific fee or purchase of a license. The users like such solutions, because they can test programs for free and get to know them better, before deciding on buying them.
There are several types of Shareware licenses:
Among the examples of Shareware are WinZip, Nero, Skype, and Spotify.
In this version of the license, the user has access to the software and the source code that can be later modified, improved, and checked accordingly to his preferences. Open Source may exist in paid and free versions. The popularity of this solution is connected to the ability to gain more control over the software, and for beginning programmers, it is an ideal way to learn using the existing code.
Closed-source software is sometimes called proprietary software. It is covered by restrictions, that concern its usage, modification, and distribution. The name is related to the fact that software does not disclose the source code, is protected by copyrights, and the product remains the property of the creator (owner). The main disadvantage is the high cost of such software although on the other hand there are advantages such as reliability, uniqueness, and compatibility. The most popular examples of proprietary software are operating systems such as Windows and Mac, as well as the office package Microsoft Office.
What is software? – Summary
As we have managed to find out in the text, there are many types of software, as well as many methods of software distribution. You can use the text as the introduction to the next subject that deals with the sales and marketing of your software. Follow our blog cycle in order not to miss any other article about the software.
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