Portal:Software

Introduction

A diagram showing how the user interacts with application software on a typical desktop computer.The application software layer interfaces with the operating system, which in turn communicates with the hardware. The arrows indicate information flow.

Computer software, or simply software, is a collection of data or computer instructions that tell the computer how to work. This is in contrast to physical hardware, from which the system is built and actually performs the work. In computer science and software engineering, computer software is all information processed by computer systems, programs and data. Computer software includes computer programs, libraries and related non-executable data, such as online documentation or digital media. Computer hardware and software require each other and neither can be realistically used on its own.

At the lowest programming level, executable code consists of machine language instructions supported by an individual processor--typically a central processing unit (CPU) or a graphics processing unit (GPU). A machine language consists of groups of binary values signifying processor instructions that change the state of the computer from its preceding state. For example, an instruction may change the value stored in a particular storage location in the computer--an effect that is not directly observable to the user. An instruction may also invoke one of many input or output operations, for example displaying some text on a computer screen; causing state changes which should be visible to the user. The processor executes the instructions in the order they are provided, unless it is instructed to "jump" to a different instruction, or is interrupted by the operating system. , most personal computers, smartphone devices and servers have processors with multiple execution units or multiple processors performing computation together, and computing has become a much more concurrent activity than in the past.

The majority of software is written in high-level programming languages. They are easier and more efficient for programmers because they are closer to natural languages than machine languages. High-level languages are translated into machine language using a compiler or an interpreter or a combination of the two. Software may also be written in a low-level assembly language, which has strong correspondence to the computer's machine language instructions and is translated into machine language using an assembler.

Selected article

Spyware is computer software that collects personal information about a user without their informed consent. The term, coined in 1995 but not widely used for another five years, is often used interchangeably with adware and malware (software designed to infiltrate and damage a computer.)

Personal information is secretly recorded with a variety of techniques, including logging keystrokes, recording Internet web browsing history, and scanning documents on the computer's hard disk. Purposes range from overtly criminal (theft of passwords and financial details) to the merely annoying (recording Internet search history for targeted advertising, while consuming computer resources). Spyware collects many different types of information. Some variants attempt to track the websites a user visits and then send this information to an advertising agency. More malicious variants attempt to intercept passwords or credit card numbers as a user enters them into a web form or other application.

The spread of spyware has led to the development of an entire anti-spyware industry. Its products remove or disable existing spyware on the computers they are installed on and prevent its installation. However, a number of companies have incorporated forms of spyware into their products. These programs are not considered malware, but are still spyware as they watch and observe with for advertising purposes. It is somewhat arguable whether such 'legitimate' uses of adware/spyware are malware since the user often has no knowledge of these 'legitimate' programs being installed on his/her computer and is generally unaware that these programs are infringing on his/her privacy. In any case, these programs still use the resources of the host computer without permission.


Selected image

Adobe Systems headquarters
Credit: Mountain

Adobe Systems Incorporated ( ?-DOH-bee), is an American multinational computer software company headquartered in San Jose, California, United States. The company has historically focused upon the creation of multimedia and creativity software products, with a more-recent foray towards rich Internet application software development.

Selected biography

Bill Gates, 16. November 2004 at IT-Forum in Copenhagen
'William Henry Gates III
'
William Henry Gates III, (b. October 28, 1955), commonly known as Bill Gates is the founder, chairman, former chief software architect, and former CEO of Microsoft. He is consistently ranked in the Forbes list of the world's wealthiest people. Between 2009 and 2014 his wealth more than doubled from $40 billion to more than $82 billion. When family wealth is considered, his family ranks second behind the Walton family. Gates is the first one to reach the richest peak from the technology world.

Gates is a leading philanthropist, and has stated that he intends to give away the majority of his vast wealth. He and his wife set up the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (B&MGF) in 1994 with the aim of improving health and combating poverty in developing regions across the world. He has attracted considerable acclaim for the Foundation's work, including its work in combating HIV infection in Africa.

Gates finally quit day-to-day responsibility at Microsoft in June 2008 in favour of running the B&MGF after a long period of moving away from executive control, originally as CEO, then as 'Chief Software Architect'. Gates remains chairman of Microsoft.


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Software news

From the Wikinews Software category
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Selected quote

" A solid working knowledge of productivity software and other IT tools has become a basic foundation for success in virtually any career. Beyond that, however, I don't think you can overemphasise the importance of having a good background in maths and science. "


Bill Gates, "Bill Gates: The skills you need to succeed". BBC News. 14 December 2007.

Did you know

...that BIOS software is built into personal computers, and is a type of system software?

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