Monday, September 21, 2009

Tech Guide 2: Computer Software

Q1. What are main differences/distinction between system software and application software?

Systems software is a set of instructions that serves primarily as an intermediary between computer hardware and application programs. Systems software provides important self-regulatory functions for computer systems. Application software is a set of computer instructions that provide more specific functionality to a user.

Q2. What are the two main types of system software? Provide some examples of their functions.

The two main types of system software are system control programs and system support programs. System control programs control use of the hardware, software, and data resources of a computer system. An example is mobile phones. System support programs are support the operations, management, and users of a computer system by providing a variety of support services. Examples include: system utility programs, performance monitors and security monitors.

Q3. What is the difference between proprietary and open source software? What considerations should be made when a business selects either software.

Proprietary application software is one that addresses a specific or unique business need for a company; may be developed in-house or may be commissioned from a software vendor. Open source software is one made available in source code from at no cost to developers. Considerations that should be made when selecting software include: size and location of user base, availability of system, costs (initial and subsequent), system capabilities, existing computing environment, in-house technical skills.

Q4. What are some of the legal issues involved in acquiring and using software in most businesses/organizations?

Software licensing is one of the biggest and most important legal issues involved in acquiring and using software in businesses and organizations. Copying and burning original CD’s is an illegal issue despite the fact that people do it all the time. To protect their investment, software vendors must prevent their software from being copied and distributed by individuals and other software companies. A company can copyright its software, which means that the U.S Copyright Office grants the company the exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish, and sell that software.

Q5. Choose an Operating System, provide some details on its developer, it license type and key benefits.

Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie and Douglas McIlroy at Bell Labs designed and developed the C programming language to build the operating system Unix. Unix developed into a large, complex family of inter-related operating systems which have been influential in every modern operating system. The name "UNIX" is a trademark of The Open Group which licenses it for use with any operating system that has been shown to conform to their definitions. AT&T licensed UNIX System III, based largely on Version 7, for commercial use. It is portable, multi-tasking and a multi-user in a time-sharing configuration. Unix systems are characterized by various concepts: the use of plain text for storing data; a hierarchical file system; treating devices and certain types of inter-process communication (IPC) as files; and the use of a large number of software tools, small programs that can be strung together through a command line interpreter using pipes, as opposed to using a single monolithic program that includes all of the same functionality.

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