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Software was originally defined as code where some version of it could be printed. It’s modern usage is any program written in any language which can be made to run on a computer: a computer includes any device which can be programmed – so mobile phones, laptops, notebooks, desktop computers, mainframes, supercomputers and lots more besides – the key characteristics of software are :
Written by people or at least written by software which is written by people.
Can be installed and if necessary removed without needing to physically take the machine apart.
Can be updated with similar techniques to its installation and removal
A program is any series of instructions which do some ‘useful’ work, normally taking some series of inputs (either from the user, the device or the wiser environment/Internet ) and generating a set of outputs which are either presented to fbe user, sent elsewhere or stored for future use.
Of course one persons definition of ‘useful’ might be different from some-one else’s – so it is really only the user who can ultimately say if a particular program or set of programs are ‘‘useful’ to them.
More often than not the installation/updating and removal of software can occur ‘‘after market’ I.e. after the computer device has been sold.
Example of software include :
Many embedded systems have software too – for instance I have a Home mini Wi-fi hub which has the ability to have it’s software upgraded, and the main Wi-fi hub contains software which can be upgraded remotely by my broadband vendor
In some cases you will see a distinction between software and firmware, where firnware is software (nearly always in the form of machine code) which has been burnt/flashed onto an eeprom or something similar.
I hope this helps
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