What is a Software? – Definition, Features, and Types

Software Definition:

The software is a word that comes from the English language, but thanks to the widespread use, has been accepted by the Royal Spanish Academy. According to the RAE, it is a set of programs, instructions and computer rules that allow executing different tasks in a computer.

Commonly this term is used to refer in a very generic way to the programs of a computing device.


The software is considered to be the logical and intangible equipment of a computer. In other words, the concept of it covers all computer applications, such as word processors, spreadsheets and image editors.

It is developed through different programming languages, which allow controlling the behavior of a machine. These languages consist of a set of symbols and syntactic and semantic rules, which define the meaning of their elements and expressions. A programming language allows programmers to specify, precisely, what data a computer should operate.

Different Types:

Among the types of software, one of the most important is the system software or underlying software, which allows the user to have control over the hardware (physical components) and to support other computer programs. The so-called operating systems, which start to work when the computer is turned on, are necessary software.

Software Application

Application software is programs designed to facilitate some specific tasks such as word processors, image, Internet browsers, etc., for any computer medium either in computers, tablets or cell phones.

Free software and proprietary software

The concept of free software is used to refer to those programs that allow the user to use, copy, modify and distribute it.

In opposition to this term, proprietary software is used to indicate that a computer program is not entirely free. In this regard, the software owner prohibits or restricts its use, redistribution or modification.

The software development industry has become an essential player in the global economy since it moves millions of dollars a year. The largest and most popular company in the world is Microsoft, founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen. This company managed to transcend thanks to its Windows operating system and its Office suite of Office programs.