[#9] – Computer software – Questions

The terms “hardware” and “software” are used frequently in connection with computers. Hardware refers to the physical devices of a computer system. Thus, input, storage, processing, control, and output devices are hardware.

A computer cannot do anything on its own. It must be instructed to do a job desired by us. Hence, it is necessary to specify a sequence of instructions a computer must perform to solve a problem. Such as sequence of instructions written in a language understood by a computer is called a computer program.

A program controls a computer is using a program to perform a task, we say, it is running or executing that program.

The term software refers to a set of computer programs, procedures and associated documents describing the programs, and how they are to be used.

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Points To Remember:

  • The term hardware refers to the physical devices of a computer system. Thus, input, storage, processing, control, and output devices are hardware.
  • The term software refers to a collection of programs. A program is a sequence of instructions written in a language understood by a computer.
  • A software package is a group of programs that solve a specific problem or perform a specific type of job.
  • The hardware and software of a computer must work together for the computer to produce useful output. Nothing useful can be done with the hardware on its own, and software cannot be utilize without supporting hardware.
  • Most software can be divided into two major categories – system software and application software. System software is a set of one or more programs designed to control the operation and extend the processing capability of a computer system. Application software is a set of one or more programs designed to solve a specific problem or do a specific task.
  • A few examples of system software are operating systems, programming language translators, utility programs, and communications software.
  • A few examples of application software are word-processing software, spreadsheet software, database software, graphics software, personal assistance software, education software, and entertainment software.
  • A user can acquire a desired software in one or more of the following ways:
    By buying pre-written software
    By ordering customized software
    By developing customized software
    By downloading public-domain software
  • Each of these ways of acquiring software has its own advantages and limitations.
  • Developing a software and putting it to use is a complex process involving following steps:
    Analyzing the problem at hand, and planning the program(s) to solve the problem.
    Coding the program(s).
    Testing, debugging, and documenting the program(s).
    Implementing the program(s).
    Evaluating and maintaining the program(s).
  • Firmware is software substituted for hardware and stored in a read-only memory (ROM) chip.
  • Middleware is defined as a set of tools and data that helps applications use networked resources and services. It is a separate software layer that acts as “glue” between the client and server parts of an application and provides a programming abstraction as well as masks the heterogeneity of underlying networks, hardware, and operating system from application programmers.

List of Questions

  1. Define the terms hardware and software.
  2. What is a computer program?
  3. What is running/executing a computer program?
  4. What is a software package?
  5. Hardware and software of a computer system are like two sides of a coin. Discuss.
  6. Write an analogy to bring out the relationship between hardware and software of a computer system.
  7. Hardware is normally a one-time expense, whereas software is a continuing expense. Explain.
  8. How many types of software are there? Write three examples of each.
  9. Define and distinguish between application software and system software.
  10. Define following terms:
    System software
    System program
    System programmer
    Application software
    Application program
    Application programmer
  11. List some key functions performed by the system software of a computer system.
  12. Explain the importance of system software for a computer system.
  13. What is a utility program? List some tasks commonly performed by utility progams.
  14. What is communications software?
  15. What is education software? Write a few examples of such software.
  16. What is entertainment software? Write a few examples of such software.
  17. Explain the relationship among hardware, system software, application software, and users of a computer system.
  18. How does a normal user interact with the hardware of a computer? Describe the various in-between layers.
  19. What are the different ways of acquiring software? List their relative advantages and limitations.
  20. List the relative advantages and disadvantages of creating customized software in-house by an organizatin versus getting it created by another organization.
  21. What is turnkey solution?
  22. What is a shareware? What are the advantages and limitations of using a shareware?
  23. Are all public-domain software “freeware”? Explain.
  24. Are all public-domain software “Open Source Software (OSS)”? Explain.
  25. What is Open Source Software (OSS)? What are its advantages as compared to conventional commercial software?
  26. Why is public-domain software also known as community-supported software?
  27. List the steps followed in developing software and putting it to use.
  28. Write short notes on:
    Hardware
    Software
    Firmware
    Middleware
  29. Write short notes on:
    Types of software
    Acquiring software
    Software development steps
    Relationship between hardware and software
  30. Write short notes on:
    System software
    Application software
    Open Source Software (OSS)
    Relationship among the hardware, system software, application software, and users of a computer
  31. What is firmware and what is its importance to a computer system architect?
  32. Why is firmware gaining popularity?
  33. What is middleware? How it is useful?
  34. Why is “middleware” so called?
  35. Differentiate among hardware, software, firmware, and middleware.

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