A Beginner’s Guide To Software
Most people don’t put a lot of thought into the kind of software that they use. As long as they have access to their favourite apps and programs, they’re happy. But software has become a vital part of the modern world, allowing us to achieve a great many number of advances that were previously impossible.
Despite the fact that software itself can be quite complicated, it’s easy enough to learn and understand the basics of software, what it consists of, and how it’s utilised in everyday life.
The first place to start is with programming languages. While they have become quite complex over the last few decades, at its core a programming language is nothing more than a set of instructions that a computer has to read, understand, and follow. It can years to become proficient at a software language, as it basically entails having to learn an entirely new language, complete with its own syntax, rules, and other important criteria.
There are generally two types of software when it comes to availability: closed source and open source. This not only applies to the technicalities of the software and the source code that it’s made up of, but also the philosophical paradigm of freedom. Open source software is software where the source code is available and open to the general public, and it can be taken, modified, and redistributed as something new.
Free and open source software was first pioneered by Richard Stallman, and he has spent decades of his life ensuring that the ethical and technical nature of open source has remained an important part of the modern world. Open source software is a growing movement, and even some larger entities, such as governments, have begun to realise how important it is to be able to read the code behind the software that we use, whether it’s for office usage, video gaming, or playing online roulette.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is closed source software, which is where the source code is not available to the public and cannot be modified by anyone unless they have access to it. This kind of software is usually closely guarded by the company/developed that owns it, and legally protected by patents.
Microsoft Windows, the popular operating system, is a great example of a piece of software that is closed source, along with Adobe Photoshop, and many others.