Software and Operating System

What is Software?

Software is a term to describe a set of computer programs that perform a collection of tasks. Software is also a series of instructions for the computer that performs a particular task. According to Wikipedia, the term software was first used by John W. Tukey in 1958. Software is divided into some categories. Two major of them are application software and system software.

Application software is a generic name for any software or computer program. Most of the computer software excludes system software is application software. Application software allows end- user to accomplish one or more specific (non-related) computer tasks. Some examples for application software is word processor such as Microsoft Word 2007, Open Office Writer, etc.

System software is any computer software which manages and controls computer hardware so that application software can perform a task. System software will handle and control all operation process in computer. For example when someone boots the computer up, the system software will perform all operations until the computer is ready for user. The most important system software is operating system.

What is Operating System?

An ‘operating system’ (commonly abbreviated OS and O/S) is the software component of a computer system that is responsible for the management and coordination of activities and the sharing of the resources of the computer. The operating system acts as a host, one of the purposes of an operating system is to handle the details of the operation of the hardware. This relieves application programs from having to manage these details and makes it easier to write applications.

Almost all computers, including handheld computers, desktop computers, supercomputers, and even video game consoles, use an operating system of some type. Some of the oldest models may however use an embedded operating system, that may be contained on a compact disk or other data storage device.

Types of Operating System

There are many kinds of operating system. The most popular one is Windows from Microsoft Corporation. Microsoft first introduced an operating environment named Windows in November 1985 as an add-on to MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces (GUIs).

Other operating system is Mac OS. Mac OS is the trademarked name for a series of graphical user interface-based operating systems developed by Apple Inc. (formerly Apple Computer, Inc.) for their Macintosh line of computer systems. The Macintosh user experience is credited with popularizing the graphical user interface.

The original form of what Apple would later name the "Mac OS" was the integral and unnamed system software first introduced in 1984 with the original Macintosh, usually referred to simply as the System software.

Recently, there is also an operating system which has open source license. The most popular one is Linux. Linux is a Unix-like computer operating system family which uses the Linux kernel. Linux is one of the most prominent examples of free software and open source development; typically all the underlying source code can be freely modified, used, and redistributed by anyone. For the first time Linux kernel is created by Linus Torvalds.

Nowadays, Linux has abundant variant called distributions. Below are some of Linux distributions in ranking per October 2008 (you may refer to :Ubuntu, openSUSE, Mint, Fedora, PCLinuxOS, Debian, Mandriva, and more.

Ubuntu has been the most popular Linux distributions for the last few years, since it has unique feature that most people need. The feature is ‘live CD’ which is enable someone to try Ubuntu from Ubuntu CD without installing Ubuntu on to harddisk. You may request Ubuntu CD for free at

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