The software topic deals with the software associated with a typical computer system. ITGS students are
required to understand the meaning of the terms and concepts listed here and, where appropriate, briefly
describe how they work or their relevance to the user.
The development of software can have social impacts such as increased access for disabled people, and
ethical issues, for example, only producing packages in a limited number of languages, effectively making
English the global language. Students are expected to examine the effects of these developments on

Possible scenario
A computer user is planning to update the software on their current computer system to the most recent
versions and must use their knowledge to:
• select a suitable operating system based on information such as price and ease of installation
• select suitable software for the computer and decide which source to obtain the software from
• ensure that the software is installed legally, is registered and that user support is available
• select the appropriate software to prevent viruses or malicious software from damaging the contents
of the home computer.

IT concepts to address in this topic
Applications: word processing, desktop publishing, presentations, photo and video editing, music and
sound development, website development
A software program that runs on your computer (everyday programs). Web browsers, e-mail programs, word processors, games, and utilities are all applications. The word "application" is used because each program has a specific application for the user

System software: operating systems and utilities
System software refers to the files and programs that make up your computer's operating system. System files include libraries of functions, system services, drivers for printers and other hardware, system preferences, and other configuration files. The programs that are part of the system software include assemblers, compilers, file management tools, system utilites, and debuggers.The system software is installed on your computer when you install your operating system
An operating system is the core software that allows a computer to run as a useful device. It manages the hardware, user interface and all other software running on the computer more info from teach
Useful link on opertating systems
Utility programs, commonly referred to as just "utilities," are software programs that add functionality to your computer or help your computer perform better. These include antivirus, backup, disk repair, file management, security, and networking programs. Utilities can also be applications such as screensavers, font and icon tools, and desktop enhancements.

Interfaces: graphical user interface (GUI), command line interface (CLI), menu-driven interface (MDI), voice
User interface - the means by which a person controls (or interacts) with the software application of hardware device
User interfaces

Licensing: shareware, public domain, freeware, proprietary and open source software
Shareware is software that is free for the trying, with a send-payment-if-you-keep-it honor system
Public Doman is free software that is not copyrighted and that is offered through World Wide Web sites, electronic bulletin boards, user groups, and other sources
Freeware is software you can download, pass around, and distribute and you never have to pay for it.Though freeware does not cost anything, it is still copyrighted, so other people can't market the software as their own. techterms
Properitery software is computer software licensed under exclusive legal right of the copyright holder. The licensee is given the right to use the software under certain conditions, while restricted from other uses, such as modification, further distribution, or reverse engineering. wikipedia

Licensing authorities: Business Software Alliance (BSA)
The Business Software Alliance
Business Software Alliance (BSA) is a nonprofit trade association created to advance the goals of the software industry and its hardware partners. It is the foremost organization dedicated to promoting a safe and legal digital world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, BSA is active in more than 80 countries.
BSA policy priorities include:
- Protecting intellectual property (copyright, patents, tech mandates)
- Opening markets to barrier-free trade
- Data security
- Increasing opportunities in emerging markets
- Software innovation and choice
- E-government / workforce and education

Intellectual property refers to creations of the mind for which exclusive rights are recognized in law. Under intellectual property law, owners are granted certain exclusive rights to a variety of musical, literary, and artistic works; discoveries and inventions; and words, phrases, symbols, and designs. Common types of intellectual property rights include copyright, trademarks, industrial design rights.

Commercial and custom-built (bespoke) software
- General purpose software provides many features that the majority of users will want, e.g. formatting text, charts, tables. But it does try to be 'all things to all people' and so there will be a vast number of features that may never be used e.g. mail merge, statistical functions. The size of these applications is fairly large. General purpose software are applications like MS Word.
- Specialist application packages are generally not available in shops and they often have to be purchased directly from the manufacturer or a specialist firm.These applications are designed to be used for specific tasks such as company payroll, stock control systems, appointment systems, ecommerce sites etc.
- Bespoke software Although specialist software might be the answer for many companies, there will be some organisations who find that it just doesn’t do exactly what they want or it doesn’t work with their current systems.In this case, they might decide to have the software system they need designed and developed specifically for them.This is called ‘tailor-made’ or ‘bespoke’ software.

Registration, serial number, warranty, copyright agreement
(End User License Agreement) The legal agreement between the manufacturer and purchaser of software that stipulates the terms of usage. The EULA is displayed on screen at time of installation and requires that the user click "Accept" or "I Agree," otherwise the software will not install.
A serial number is a unique, identifying number or group of numbers and letters assigned to an individual piece of hardware or software
License registrationis often used in conjunction with licence key generation and licence management tools to prevent the developer's software from being copied, shared or otherwise illegally used (pirated) by non-licensed users.
A warranty isa formal promise by a vendor that the product is defect free, meaning that it will do what it promises to do, and that if it fails to do so, how the vendor will go about rectifying defects.
Copyright is the ownership of an intellectual property within the limits prescribed by a particular nation's or international law

Web-based software
Web based application is an application that is accessed by users over a network such as the internet or an intranet. The term may also mean a computer software application that is coded in a browser-supported language (such as JavaScript, combined with a browser-rendered markup language like HTML) and reliant on a common web browser to render the application executable.
Advances in web based software
Mash-Up - a mash-up is a Web page or application that integrates complementary elements from two or more sources. Mash-ups are often created by using a development approach called Ajax. An example of a mash-up using google maps an geopositioned photographs of locations - an example is panoramio

• User support: manuals, assistants, tutorials, help systems, “Read Me” files

• Macros, templates, wizards

• File formats, for example, RTF (rich text format), TXT (text), PDF (portable document format), XLS
(Excel spreadsheet), SWF (small web format), ZIP (zipped file), JPG/JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts
Group bitmap), PNG (portable network graphics bitmap), CSV (comma-separated values), HTM/HTML
(hypertext markup language)
Bitmap file formats

• Data transfer: ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange), tab-delimited text file,
zipped file

System utilities
• Defragmentation/optimization and disk utility software
• Backup, file management, account and accessibility management
• Monitor and keyboard settings, for example, international settings, disability settings
• Virus scan, malware detectors and removers
• Compression/decompression (lossless, lossy)
• Colour synchronization

Check your understanding
You should have read chapter 4 - "The Ghost in the Machine". Make notes on:
  • Describe three fundamental categories of software and their relationship (compilers / translator programs, software applications, systems software)
  • Explain the relationship of algorithms to software
  • Compare and contrast PC applications and Web applications
  • Describe the role of the operating system in a modern computer system
  • Explain how file systems are organized
  • Outline the evolution of user interfaces from machine-language programming to futuristic interfaces
  • Describe some challenges of applying intellectual property laws to software

Other useful resources
Tomorrow's technology and you - chapter 4
Accompanying website to the book

Relevant News Articles for discussion

Photoshop and media

Dove commcercial

Practical exercises


File types / keywords associated with Photoshop and image manipulation
PSD, JPEG, GIF, PNG, TIFF, EPS, PDF, RAW, Bitmap, Vector
For more detailed explanations on each refer to this article
Differences between 8 bit and 16 bit colours


Work through the exercises here
Some useful CSS generators
Great site for CSS/HTML

Possible exam question - May 2011 SL paper2 Q4

Example exam questions on the topic