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1.2 SEM: What is software?
Computer software, or simply software, is a part of a computer system that consists of data or computer instructions, in contrast to the physical hardware from which the system is built. In computer science and software engineering, computer software is all information processed by computer systems, programs and data. Computer software includes computer programs, libraries and related non-executable data, such as online documentation or digital media. Computer hardware and software require each other and neither can be realistically used on its own.
At the lowest level, executable code consists of machine language instructions specific to an individual processor—typically a central processing unit (CPU). A machine language consists of groups of binary values signifying processor instructions that change the state of the computer from its preceding state. For example, an instruction may change the value stored in a particular storage location in the computer—an effect that is not directly observable to the user. An instruction may also (indirectly) cause something to appear on a display of the computer system—a state change which should be visible to the user. The processor carries out the instructions in the order they are provided, unless it is instructed to "jump" to a different instruction, or is interrupted (by now multi-core processors are dominant, where each core can run instructions in order; then, however, each application software runs only on one core by default, but some software has been made to run on many).
The majority of software is written in high-level programming languages that are easier and more efficient for programmers to use because they are closer than machine languages to natural languages. High-level languages are translated into machine language using a compiler or an interpreter or a combination of the two. Software may also be written in a low-level assembly language, which has strong correspondence to the computer's machine language instructions and is translated into machine language using an assembler.
Free Software Foundation
Free Software Foundation - 30 Years
The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded by Richard Stallman on 4 October 1985 to support the free software movement, which promotes the universal freedom to study, distribute, create, and modify computer software, with the organization's preference for software being distributed under copyleft ("share alike") terms, such as with its own GNU General Public License. The FSF was incorporated in Massachusetts, USA, where it is also based.
From its founding until the mid-1990s, FSF's funds were mostly used to employ software developers to write free software for the GNU Project. Since the mid-1990s, the FSF's employees and volunteers have mostly worked on legal and structural issues for the free software movement and the free software community.
Consistent with its goals, the FSF aims to use only free software on its own computers.
Lean in High Tech & Computer Industry
A great variety of software companies and programmers in the world comprise a software industry. Software can be quite a profitable industry: Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft was the richest person in the world in 2009, largely due to his ownership of a significant number of shares in Microsoft, the company responsible for Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office software products.
Non-profit software organizations include the Free Software Foundation, GNU Project and Mozilla Foundation.
Software standard organizations like the W3C, IETF develop recommended software standards such as XML, HTTP and HTML, so that software can interoperate through these standards.
Other well-known large software companies include Oracle, Novell, SAP, Symantec, Adobe Systems, and Corel, while small companies often provide innovation.
This is a list of free and open-source software packages, computer software licensed under free software licenses and open-source licenses. Software that fits the Free Software Definition may be more appropriately called free software; the GNU project in particular objects to their works being referred to as open-source. For more information about the philosophical background for open-source software, see free software movement and Open Source Initiative. However, nearly all software meeting the Free Software Definition also meets the Open Source Definition and vice versa. A small fraction of the software that meets either definition is listed here.
Some of the open-source applications are also the basis of commercial products, shown in the
List of commercial open-source applications and services.
Free software, free society: Richard Stallman at TEDxGeneva 2014
Open-source software (OSS) is computer software with its source code made available with a license in which the copyright holder provides the rights to study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose. Open-source software may be developed in a collaborative public manner. Open-source software is the most prominent example of open-source development.
The open-source model, or collaborative competition development from multiple independent sources, generates an increasingly more diverse scope of design perspective than any one company is capable of developing and sustaining long term. A report by the Standish Group (from 2008) states that adoption of open-source software models has resulted in savings of about $60 billion per year to consumers.
Projects and organizations
Some of the "more prominent organizations" involved in OSS development include the Apache Software Foundation, creators of the Apache web server; the Linux Foundation, a nonprofit which as of 2012 employed Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux operating system kernel; the Eclipse Foundation, home of the Eclipse software development platform; the Debian Project, creators of the influential Debian GNU/Linux distribution; the Mozilla Foundation, home of the Firefox web browser; and OW2, European-born community developing open source middleware.
New organizations tend to have a more sophisticated governance model and their membership is often formed by legal entity members.
Several open source programs have become defining entries in their space, including the GIMP image editing system; Sun's Java programming language and environment; the MySQL database system; the FreeBSD Unix operating system; LibreOffice office productivity suite; and the Wireshark network packet sniffer and protocol analyser.
Open Source development is often performed "live and in public", using services provided for free on the Internet, such as the Launchpad and GitHub web sites.
Open Source Software Institute is a membership-based, non-profit 501 (c) organization established in 2001 that promotes the development and implementation of open source software solutions within US Federal, state and local government agencies. OSSI's efforts have focused on promoting adoption of open source software programs and policies within Federal Government and Defense and Homeland Security communities.
Open Source for America is a group created to raise awareness in the U.S. Federal Government about the benefits of open source software.
Their stated goals are to encourage the government's use of open source software, participation in open source software projects, and incorporation of open source community dynamics to increase government transparency.
Mil-OSS is a group dedicated to the advancement of OSS use and creation in the military.
Public Domain Introduction (Public Domain Information Tutorial)
Public-domain software is software that has been placed in the public domain: in other words, there is absolutely no ownership such as copyright, trademark, or patent. Software in the public domain can be modified, distributed, or sold even without any attribution by anyone; this is unlike the common case of software under exclusive copyright, where software licenses grant limited usage rights.
Under the Berne Convention, which most countries have signed, an author automatically obtains the exclusive copyright to anything they have written, and local law may similarly grant copyright, patent, or trademark rights by default. The Berne Convention also covers programs. Therefore, a program is automatically subject to a copyright, and if it is to be placed in the public domain, the author must explicitly disclaim the copyright and other rights on it in some way, e.g. by a waiver statement. In some Jurisdictions, some rights (in particular moral rights) cannot be disclaimed: for instance, civil law tradition-based German law's "Urheberrecht" differs here from the Anglo-Saxon common law tradition's "copyright" concept.
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This page was last updated July 31st, 2020 by Kim.S
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