software : Computer Hardware Buyers’ Glossary

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software
Programs you can run on your computer. One way of looking at them is they are just patterns of zeroes and ones either sent to you over the Internet or on a CD or DVD. Mathematically are just auspicious very large numbers.

Software includes the operating systems such as  DOS, W3.1, OS2, W95, W98, Me, NT, W2K, XP, W2003, Vista, W2008, W7-32, W7-64, W8-32, W8-64, W2012, W10-32, W10-64, Linux, Ubuntu, Solaris, OS9 and OSX, word processor, spreadsheets, browsers, email programs, newsreaders, compilers, validators, backup programs, device drivers, utilities and games.

There are several types of software:

open source
Anyone with sufficient computer programming skills can look at how the program works and create their own variations.
freeware
The program is free, but you are not permitted to modify it or peek inside to see how it works.
shareware
You are allowed to use the program, but if you use it regularly you are expected to pay a small fee. Sometimes doing so unlocks extra features.
trialware
You are allowed to use the program free for a while to test it out, typically a week to 90 days, then it stops working unless you pay and fee and register.
shrink wrap
The program comes in a pretty box and you usually buy it in a retail store. If you don’t like it, if it unsuitable or if it does not work you can’t take it back since they presume you made a copy of the CDs (Compact Discs) inside.
There are many variations on software licences. Unless you have explicit permission, you are not allowed to give copies of programs to your friends or to install a program on more than one machine.

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