We explain what software is, how it is developed and classified. Also, what are its general characteristics and maintenance.

What is Software?

Software is the logical support of a computer system . It is the intangible part of a computer. It differs from hardware , which is the material part.

Software is a broad category that includes a wide variety of computer products , from operating systems to the intangible part of electronic games or the programs that allow the operation of an airplane.

Desirable features in a software product are:

  • Correction. May you meet your goal .
  • Usability. Make it easy to learn.
  • Security. It is resistant to external attacks.
  • Flexibility.  That can be modified by the developers.
  • Portability.  It can be used on various computing systems.

However, not all software products meet these requirements, since they prioritize one or the other depending on the use to which it will be put. For example, the software of a washing machine does not require prioritizing security , since it does not protect any type of important information.

Characteristics And Features Of Software:

  1. System software

system software

System software is everything that is called an “operating system”. These include Windows , Mac OS, Ubuntu (among other Linux distributions ), Unix , Fedora, and Solaris, among others.

System software is the main software of a computer system and is responsible for managing both hardware resources and application programs. Its execution is privileged over that of the rest of the software, since everything depends on the operating system.

In addition to operating systems, system software includes device drivers, diagnostic, correction, and optimization tools , servers, and utilities.

  1. Programming software

Programming software are those applications and tools that are used by programmers to develop new software . These include text editors, compilers, interpreters, linkers, debuggers, and integrated development environments. Each of these programming tools can be used with one or more programming languages.

  1. App Software

app software

These are the programs that we normally use to carry out all kinds of tasks on a computer . Its function is much more specific than that of system software.

Among them are word processors (such as Word or Notepad), editors (such as Photoshop or Gimp), spreadsheets (such as Excel), communication programs (such as Messenger or Whatsapp) and design programs ( such as AutoCAD) among others.

  1. Developing

Since software is software and not an object, software is not manufactured but developed . The developer can be a programmer or a team or company with multiple teams.

When it comes to a team, one developer can take care of the project overview and others with programming tasks for each of the components. However, in all cases, the development team must maintain constant communication so that the resulting software is functional for its objectives.

  1. Programming languages

Programming languages

Each programming language is made up of certain symbols and syntactic and semantic rules , that is, for each language the symbols have their own structure and meaning.

A software language is made up of

  • Variable and vectors: Variables are memory spaces, that is, data containers. Vectors are a specific type of compound variables.
  • Conditionals: They are the necessary premises for the program to run.
  • Blucles:  They execute a code constantly as long as a premise is fulfilled.
  • Functions: They are variables that enclose a code in themselves.

  1. Interaction with multiple hardware

The software allows to interact with objects, that is, with hardware . Currently, an important part of all the products in common use include some type of software, not only computers and telephones, but also microwaves, automobiles, airplanes, refrigerators, televisions, music players , among others.

  1. Updates

The software is intrinsically evolutionary since its use allows discovering not only flaws but also potentialities that require further development. For this reason, all programs and operating systems usually offer upgrades or updates shortly after being launched on the market .

  1. Installation


Installation is the process by which software is integrated into a computer's operating system. Installation requires a specific type of configuration that allows it to properly interact with other programs and hardware. There are also distributed installations, that is, the same software is installed on several computers at the same time.

  1. Free software

Free software

Free is the type of software that allows access to its code, that is, to its operating matrix and therefore any user can install, use and even modify it.

Free software is promoted by a movement that was consolidated in 1985 with the founding of the Free Software Foundation, which points to the freedom of the computer user as an ethical objective.

  1. Maintenance

Some types of software require a periodic process of control, improvement and optimization . These processes include bug fixes and in some cases also updates provided by the developer. In some cases, maintenance includes sending a report to the developer, in order to collaborate with the evolution of the software.

The above content published at Collaborative Research Group is for informational and educational purposes only and has been developed by referring to reliable sources and recommendations from technology experts. We do not have any contact with official entities nor do we intend to replace the information that they emit.


Passionate about understanding and contributing to a world that does not stop changing. New forms of Work, Sustainability and Technology. For many years he has worked as a creative for large international companies. He has a Ph.D. in information technology and he has been doing quantitative research in the interdisciplinary areas of information systems, cyber security, data analytics and artificial intelligence. He continue to look for creative solutions through technology to help companies to be more humane and sustainable..

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