3 different software categories by Matt Ottewill

Software may be divided into three categories ...

1. Operating Systems

Modern OS's such as Windows and Mac OS are GUI's (Graphical User Interfaces) employing WIMPs (Windows, Icons, Mouse and Pull Down(s) menus. It is an Operating Systems job to handle communications between programs and the computer hardware itself.

2. Programs (or Applications)

Tools or "recipes" for performing repetitive tasks or instructions. A program is normally used to perform one group of tasks, such as recording and processing MIDI data (Cubase) or image editing (Photoshop).

Examples include ...

  • Word
  • Logic Pro
  • Photoshop
  • Outlook Express
  • Internet Explorer
  • Dreamweaver
  • etc

3. Data

The data/files that you create or edit with programs, such as ...

  • Word processing documents (.doc, .txt, .rtf etc)
  • Video files (.mov, .mpg, .avi etc)
  • MIDI files (.mid)
  • Audio files (.aif, .wav)
  • Image files (.psd, .jpg, .gif etc)
  • Web pages (.htm)
  • etc