Portal:Software

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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

Opera is a web browser developed by Opera Software. The latest versions of Opera use the Blink layout engine. Earlier versions used Opera Software's proprietary Presto layout engine and had additional Internet suite features such as sending and receiving e-mail messages, managing contacts, chatting on IRC, downloading files via BitTorrent, and reading web feeds. Opera is offered free of charge for personal computers and mobile devices.


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A Chumby downloading software

A Chumby downloading new software. A Chumby is an embedded computer which provides Internet and LAN access via a Wi-Fi connection. Through this connection, the Chumby runs various software widgets.

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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A refund for defective software might be nice, except it would bankrupt the entire software industry in the first year.


Andrew S. Tanenbaum, Computer Networks, 2003, Introduction, page 14

Did you know

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