Software is what helps the live-ware (users) to communicate with the hardware in order to complete a certain task. Software has evolved throughout the ages to become faster, more reliable, more user-friendly and sometimes, to even think a little. There are many types of software which are used, depending on the requirements of the user and the hardware.
There are manly two software types that the user will encounter as soon as he/she starts the computer, one is the BIOS software and the other is the operating system. The BIOS is the software used to start the computer and coordinate the peripherals. The software checks the RAM (Random Access Memory), monitor, processor, any other cards that are inserted, and then the hard disk. By this time the operating system is ready and will kick in and take over the system from the BIOS. There are many types of operating systems such as Windows, Apple and Linux, among which the most widely used, is Windows.
Windows operating systems started off with Microsoft Disk Operating System or MS-DOS, which was of course developed by the Microsoft Corporation, which is arguably the largest software company in the world. The user had to type in codes to get the work done. This operating system was very successful and was used all around the world.
With the advances in computer hardware technology the operating systems required to be developed into a whole new level of speed, reliability and user-friendliness. So to fulfill this need, in the year 1995 Microsoft came up with Windows 95 which was the first GUI (Graphical User Interface) operating system. The graphical interface made the users life much easier. Windows 95 was a major break through in the software industry, and especially in the operating system environment. Then Microsoft developed Windows 98 in the year 1998 and in the year 2000, Windows 2000, Windows Millennium and later Windows NT and ME. These operating systems were multi-user, multi-purpose software, which could be used to network a set of computers.
In the year 2003 Microsoft developed Windows XP (where XP stands for Extreme Programming). XP was a major breakthrough for developers as well as the end users. Arguably the best operating system developed, it made the life of everybody very easy. Today, the newest operating system developed by Microsoft is Windows Vista, which has a very high GUI.
Other than operating systems there are many other software and applications. Programmers who develop software, use software which are called programming languages and also uses another type of software called Compiler software to run the program which has been written. Many offices, businesses and organizations use applications like Microsoft Office for their use. Other applications and software are also used for entertainment purposes such as media players, games and DJ software.
Many organizations and businesses require specific software to complete their tasks. Take for an example, a bank - a normal operating system and normal applications which are used by normal users will not be sufficient to complete the tasks of a bank. For this reason there are software companies who develop tailor made software, which will be suited for the specific requirements of the vendors.
All these software have one thing in common, that is all of them help the user to communicate with the hardware, in order to obtain the maximum possible efficiency to complete the task in hand.
Summery: This article highlights the numerous uses of various software, how they are developed, their development stages and pathways, as well as what types of software are run by a computer on a general level.