The computer programme which contains the instructions to make the hardware work are called software. There are two primary software categories viz. Operating Systems or System Software and Application Software.
Operating System handles the essential task such as maintaining file system and coordination of data and memory with CPU, external devices and output devices. Operating System is needed to give a platform for the applications to run. Thus, we can say that Operating Systems would control the execution of instructions in the CPU of the computer, but it is the applications that perform specific tasks of interest to end users. For example Windows is an operating system and Microsoft Word is an application.
Then we have network software, which enable groups of computers to communicate, and language software which provides programmers with the tools they need to write programs. They are neither system nor application software but have the elements of both of them. Then we have Proprietary software, sharewares and freeware. The Proprietary software is the so-called packaged software which are developed and sold primarily online or offline via computer shops. The freeware and public-domain software are made available without cost. The sharewares are also freeware but carries a small fee for those who wish to use it. Shareware may be proprietary software that is provided to users without payment on a trial basis and is often limited by any combination of functionality, availability, or convenience.
What are Beta testing and Alpha testing?
Software testing is to test a software or software code to find bugs and errors. There are basically of two types: alpha testing and beta testing. The first is done at the developer end, while the second is at the user end. A beta tester is the customer itself and notes down defects and reports them to the developer. The user/ customer is called a 'beta tester' because he is the second one to carry out the testing. The term is derived from the fact that beta comes after alpha in the Greek alphabet.
World's First Software
Ada Lovelace wrote a rudimentary programme for the analytical machine designed by Charles Babbage in 1827, but the machine never became operational. In 1949, the language short code appeared. It was the first computer language for electronic devices and required the programmer to change its statements into 0s and 1s by hand.