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:

  1. What is software?
  2. Types of Software
  3. Software distribution methods

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.

What is software?

Types of Software

  • Application software
  • 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:

    • 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
  • System software is designed to become a platform and enable the operation of the other software. Among the examples are:

    • 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.

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.

  • Freeware
  • 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:

    • Microsoft Teams;
    • Zoom;
    • Adobe Reader;
    • Adobe PDF.
  • Shareware
  • 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:

    • 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.

    Among the examples of Shareware are WinZip, Nero, Skype, and Spotify.

  • Open Source
  • 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.

  • Proprietary software
  • 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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What is software? Types and methods of distribution – Create & sell digital products #34 martin sparks avatar 1background

Author: Martin Sparks

E-commerce enthusiasts which constantly digs around the internet in order to make sure he hasn’t missed any important information on the topic of starting and scaling profitable online stores.

Create & sell digital products:

  1. What are digital products?
  2. Why you should create your own digital products?
  3. 8 digital product ideas
  4. Best sales models to sell digital products
  5. How to use subscription model to sell products?
  6. What is an e-book?
  7. What to write an ebook about
  8. How to create an ebook?
  9. 8 examples of best ebook creation software
  10. How to create an ebook in Canva?
  11. 11 common ebook writing mistakes to avoid
  12. 5 ebook publishing mistakes to avoid
  13. 10 best platforms for selling ebooks
  14. 7 reasons to write an ebook for your business
  15. What are online courses?
  16. Types of online courses you can create and sell
  17. 9 features of a good internet course
  18. 7 things you need to do before creating an online course
  19. How to create your own online course?
  20. The best online course creation tools
  21. How to record online video courses?
  22. How to sell online courses?
  23. Best online course marketplaces
  24. Best online course platforms
  25. Online templates: 7 ideas for online templates that sell 
  26. How to sell Canva templates: 6 steps to the final product
  27. Best online marketplaces to sell templates online
  28. What are stock images?
  29. How to make a stock photo? 10 great tips for awesome images
  30. How to sell stock photos?
  31. What is stock music?
  32. 6 stock music libraries to make money
  33. How to sell stock videos online?
  34. What is software? Types and methods of distribution
  35. How to sell your software? 
  36. How to create your own mobile app?
  37. 5 programs to build apps without coding
  38. How to sell mobile apps?
  39. 6 models of app monetization
  40. How to sell digital products on Etsy?
  41. How to sell digital products on Shopify?
  42. What do you need to know about selling digital products internationally?