what is the difference between operating systems and application software?

what is the difference between operating systems and application software?

Studying Aims

Upon profitable completion of this chapter, it is possible for you to to:

  • outline the time period software program;
  • describe the 2 main classes of software program;
  • describe the position ERP software program performs in a company;
  • describe cloud computing and its benefits and drawbacks to be used in a company; and
  • outline the time period open-source and determine its main traits.


The second part of an info system is software program. Merely put: Software program is the set of directions that inform the {hardware} what to do. Software program is created by way of the method of programming (we are going to cowl the creation of software program in additional element in chapter 10). With out software program, the {hardware} wouldn’t be purposeful.

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Software program may be broadly divided into two classes: working methods and software software program. Working methods handle the {hardware} and create the interface between the {hardware} and the person. Utility software program is the class of applications that do one thing helpful for the person.


The working system gives a number of important capabilities, together with:

  1. managing the {hardware} sources of the pc;
  2. offering the user-interface elements;
  3. offering a platform for software program builders to jot down functions.

All computing units run an working system. For private computer systems, the preferred working methods are Microsoft’s Home windows, Apple’s OS X, and totally different variations of Linux. Smartphones and tablets run working methods as effectively, corresponding to Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, Microsoft’s Home windows Cell, and Blackberry.

Early personal-computer working methods had been easy by at present’s requirements; they didn’t present multitasking and required the person to kind instructions to provoke an motion. The quantity of reminiscence that early working methods might deal with was restricted as effectively, making massive applications impractical to run. The preferred of the early working methods was IBM’s Disk Working System, or DOS, which was truly developed for them by Microsoft.

In 1984, Apple launched the Macintosh pc, that includes an working system with a graphical person interface. Although not the primary graphical working system, it was the primary one to search out industrial success. In 1985, Microsoft launched the primary model of Home windows. This model of Home windows was not an working system, however as a substitute was an software that ran on high of the DOS working system, offering a graphical setting. It was fairly restricted and had little industrial success. It was not till the 1990 launch of Home windows 3.0 that Microsoft discovered success with a graphical person interface. Due to the maintain of IBM and IBM-compatible private computer systems on enterprise, it was not till Home windows 3.0 was launched that enterprise customers started utilizing a graphical person interface, ushering us into the graphical-computing period. Since 1990, each Apple and Microsoft have launched many new variations of their working methods, with every launch including the flexibility to course of extra knowledge directly and entry extra reminiscence. Options corresponding to multitasking, digital reminiscence, and voice enter have turn into normal options of each working methods.

Linux emblem (Larry Ewing)

A 3rd personal-computer working system household that’s gaining in recognition is Linux (pronounced “linn-ex”). Linux is a model of the Unix working system that runs on the non-public pc. Unix is an working system used primarily by scientists and engineers on bigger minicomputers. These are very costly computer systems, and software program developer Linus Torvalds wished to discover a method to make Unix run on inexpensive private computer systems. Linux was the end result. Linux has many variations and now powers a big proportion of internet servers on the earth. It’s also an instance of open-source software program, a subject we are going to cowl later on this chapter.


Are you a Mac? Are you a PC? Ever since its introduction in 1984, customers of the Apple Macintosh have been fairly biased about their desire for the Macintosh working system (now referred to as OS X) over Microsoft’s. When Microsoft launched Home windows, Apple sued Microsoft, claiming that they copied the “feel and look” of the Macintosh working system. In the long run, Microsoft efficiently defended themselves.

Over the previous few years, Microsoft and Apple have traded barbs with one another, every claiming to have a greater working system and software program. Whereas Microsoft has at all times had the bigger market share (see sidebar), Apple has been the favourite of artists, musicians, and the know-how elite. Apple additionally gives lots of computer systems to elementary colleges, thus gaining a following among the many youthful era.


In the event you’ve labored on the earth of enterprise, you’ll have observed that nearly all the computer systems run a model of Microsoft’s Home windows working system. Why is that this? On virtually all faculty campuses, you see a preponderance of Apple Macintosh laptops. In elementary colleges, Apple reigns as effectively. Why has this not prolonged into the enterprise world?

As we realized in chapter 1, virtually all companies used IBM mainframe computer systems again within the Sixties and Seventies. These identical companies shied away from private computer systems till IBM launched the PC in 1981. When executives needed to decide about buying private computer systems for his or her staff, they might select the protected route and buy IBM. The saying then was: “Nobody ever bought fired for getting IBM.” So over the subsequent decade, firms purchased IBM private computer systems (or these suitable with them), which ran an working system referred to as DOS. DOS was created by Microsoft, so when Microsoft launched Home windows as the subsequent iteration of DOS, firms took the protected route and began buying Home windows.

Microsoft quickly discovered itself with the dominant personal-computer working system for companies. Because the networked private pc started to switch the mainframe pc as the first method of computing inside companies, it turned important for Microsoft to provide companies the flexibility to manage and safe their networks. Microsoft developed business-level server merchandise to go together with their private pc merchandise, thereby offering an entire enterprise answer. And so now, the saying goes: “Nobody ever bought fired for getting Microsoft.”


The second main class of software program is software software program. Utility software program is, primarily, software program that enables the person to perform some purpose or goal. For instance, if it’s a must to write a paper, you may use the application-software program Microsoft Phrase. If you wish to hearken to music, you may use iTunes. To surf the online, you may use Web Explorer or Firefox. Even a pc recreation may very well be thought-about software software program.

The “Killer” App

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Visicalc running on an Apple II

VisiCalc operating on an Apple II. (Public Area)

When a brand new kind of digital gadget is invented, there are typically a small group of know-how lovers who will buy it only for the enjoyment of determining the way it works. Nevertheless, for many of us, till a tool can truly do one thing helpful we aren’t going to spend our hard-earned cash on it. A “killer” software is one which turns into so important that giant numbers of individuals will purchase a tool simply to run that software. For the non-public pc, the killer software was the spreadsheet. In 1979, VisiCalc, the primary personal-computer spreadsheet bundle, was launched. It was a right away hit and drove gross sales of the Apple II. It additionally solidified the worth of the non-public pc past the comparatively small circle of know-how geeks. When the IBM PC was launched, one other spreadsheet program, Lotus 1-2-3, was the killer app for enterprise customers.

Productiveness Software program

Together with the spreadsheet, a number of different software program functions have turn into normal instruments for the office. These functions, referred to as productiveness software program, enable workplace staff to finish their each day work. Many occasions, these functions come packaged collectively, corresponding to in Microsoft’s Workplace suite. Here’s a record of those functions and their primary capabilities:

  • Phrase processing: This class of software program gives for the creation of written paperwork. Capabilities embody the flexibility to kind and edit textual content, format fonts and paragraphs, and add, transfer, and delete textual content all through the doc. Most trendy word-processing applications even have the flexibility so as to add tables, photos, and varied format and formatting options to the doc. Phrase processors save their paperwork as digital information in quite a lot of codecs. By far, the preferred word-processing bundle is Microsoft Phrase, which saves its information within the DOCX format. This format may be learn/written by many different word-processor packages.
  • Spreadsheet: This class of software program gives a method to do numeric calculations and evaluation. The working space is split into rows and columns, the place customers can enter numbers, textual content, or formulation. It’s the formulation that make a spreadsheet highly effective, permitting the person to develop advanced calculations that may change based mostly on the numbers entered. Most spreadsheets additionally embody the flexibility to create charts based mostly on the info entered. The preferred spreadsheet bundle is Microsoft Excel, which saves its information within the XLSX format. Simply as with phrase processors, many different spreadsheet packages can learn and write to this file format.
  • Presentation: This class of software program gives for the creation of slideshow shows. Harkening again to the times of overhead projectors and transparencies, presentation software program permits its customers to create a set of slides that may be printed or projected on a display screen. Customers can add textual content, photos, and different media components to the slides. Microsoft’s PowerPoint is the preferred software program proper now, saving its information in PPTX format.
  • Some workplace suites embody different varieties of software program. For instance, Microsoft Workplace consists of Outlook, its e-mail bundle, and OneNote, an information-gathering collaboration software. The skilled model of Workplace additionally consists of Microsoft Entry, a database bundle. (Databases are coated extra in chapter 4.)

Microsoft popularized the thought of the office-software productiveness bundle with their launch of Microsoft Workplace. This bundle continues to dominate the market and most companies count on staff to know the best way to use this software program. Nevertheless, many opponents to Microsoft Workplace do exist and are suitable with the file codecs utilized by Microsoft (see desk under). Not too long ago, Microsoft has begun to supply an internet model of their Workplace suite. Much like Google Drive, this suite permits customers to edit and share paperwork on-line using cloud-computing know-how. Cloud computing shall be mentioned later on this chapter.

Comparability of workplace software software program suites Suite: Phrase Processing Spreadsheet Presentation Different Microsoft Workplace Phrase Excel PowerPoint Outlook (e-mail), Entry (database), OneNote (info gathering) Apple iWork Pages Numbers Keynote Integrates with iTunes, iCloud, and different Apple software program OpenOffice Author Calc Impress Base (database), Draw (drawing), Math (equations) Google Drive Doc Spreadsheet Presentation Gmail (e-mail), Kinds (on-line type knowledge assortment), Draw (drawing)

Utility Software program and Programming Software program

Two subcategories of software software program value mentioning are utility software program and programming software program. Utility software program consists of software program that permits you to repair or modify your pc ultimately. Examples embody antivirus software program and disk defragmentation software program. These kind of software program packages had been invented to fill shortcomings in working methods. Many occasions, a subsequent launch of an working system will embody these utility capabilities as a part of the working system itself.

Programming software program is software program whose goal is to make extra software program. Most of those applications present programmers with an setting through which they’ll write the code, check it, and convert it into the format that may then be run on a pc.


As presentation software program, particularly Microsoft PowerPoint, has gained acceptance as the first methodology to formally current info in a enterprise setting, the artwork of giving an enticing presentation is turning into uncommon. Many presenters now simply learn the bullet factors within the presentation and instantly bore these in attendance, who can already learn it for themselves. The true drawback will not be with PowerPoint as a lot as it’s with the particular person creating and presenting. Creator and thinker Seth Godin put it this manner: “PowerPoint may very well be probably the most highly effective software in your pc. However it’s not. It’s truly a dismal failure. Virtually each PowerPoint presentation sucks rotten eggs.”[1] The software program used that can assist you talk mustn’t duplicate the presentation you need to give, however as a substitute it ought to help it. I extremely advocate the guide Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds to anybody who desires to enhance their presentation expertise.

Software program builders have gotten conscious of this drawback as effectively. New digital presentation applied sciences are being developed, with the hopes of turning into “the subsequent PowerPoint.” One modern new presentation software is Prezi. Prezi is a presentation software that makes use of a single canvas for the presentation, permitting presenters to position textual content, photos, and different media on the canvas, after which navigate between these objects as they current. Simply as with PowerPoint, Prezi ought to be used to complement the presentation. And we should at all times keep in mind that generally the perfect shows are made with no digital instruments.


If you buy software program and set up it in your pc, are you the proprietor of that software program? Technically, you aren’t! If you set up software program, you might be truly simply being given a license to make use of it. If you first set up a software program bundle, you might be requested to conform to the phrases of service or the license settlement. In that settlement, you will see that that your rights to make use of the software program are restricted. For instance, within the phrases of the Microsoft Workplace Excel 2010 software program license, you will see that the next assertion: “This software program is licensed, not offered. This settlement solely offers you some rights to make use of the options included within the software program version you licensed.”

For probably the most half, these restrictions are what you’d count on: you can’t make unlawful copies of the software program and it’s possible you’ll not use it to do something unlawful. Nevertheless, there are different, extra surprising phrases in these software program agreements. For instance, many software program agreements ask you to conform to a restrict on legal responsibility. Once more, from Microsoft: “Limitation on and exclusion of damages. You may get better from Microsoft and its suppliers solely direct damages as much as the quantity you paid for the software program. You can’t get better every other damages, together with consequential, misplaced income, particular, oblique or incidental damages.” What this implies is that if an issue with the software program causes hurt to what you are promoting, you can’t maintain Microsoft or the provider chargeable for damages.

Purposes for the Enterprise

As the non-public pc proliferated inside organizations, management over the knowledge generated by the group started splintering. Say the customer support division creates a buyer database to maintain monitor of calls and drawback experiences, and the gross sales division additionally creates a database to maintain monitor of buyer info. Which one ought to be used because the grasp record of consumers? As one other instance, somebody in gross sales may create a spreadsheet to calculate gross sales income, whereas somebody in finance creates a unique one which meets the wants of their division. Nevertheless, it’s seemingly that the 2 spreadsheets will give you totally different totals for income. Which one is appropriate? And who’s managing all of this info?

Enterprise Useful resource Planning

Within the Nineteen Nineties, the necessity to deliver the group’s info again below centralized management turned extra obvious. The enterprise useful resource planning (ERP) system (generally simply referred to as enterprise software program) was developed to deliver collectively a whole group in a single software program software. Merely put, an ERP system is a software program software using a central database that’s applied all through all the group. Let’s take a more in-depth have a look at this definition:

  • “A software program software”: An ERP is a software program software that’s utilized by a lot of a company’s staff.
  • “using a central database”: All customers of the ERP edit and save their info from the info supply. What this implies virtually is that there’s just one buyer database, there is just one calculation for income, and so on.
  • “that’s applied all through all the group”: ERP methods embody performance that covers all the important elements of a enterprise. Additional, a company should purchase modules for its ERP system that match particular wants, corresponding to manufacturing or planning.

Information Systems

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Registered trademark of SAP

ERP methods had been initially marketed to massive companies. Nevertheless, as increasingly massive firms started putting in them, ERP distributors started focusing on mid-sized and even smaller companies. A few of the extra well-known ERP methods embody these from SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft.

With a purpose to successfully implement an ERP system in a company, the group have to be able to make a full dedication. All facets of the group are affected as previous methods are changed by the ERP system. Normally, implementing an ERP system can take two to 3 years and a number of other million {dollars}. Generally, the price of the software program will not be the most costly a part of the implementation: it’s the price of the consultants!

So why implement an ERP system? If finished correctly, an ERP system can deliver a company an excellent return on their funding. By consolidating info methods throughout the enterprise and utilizing the software program to implement greatest practices, most organizations see an general enchancment after implementing an ERP. Enterprise processes as a type of aggressive benefit shall be coated in chapter 9.


The preliminary wave of software-application improvement started within the Sixties, when functions had been developed for mainframe computer systems. In these days, computing was costly, so functions had been designed to take as little house as doable. One shortcut that many programmers took was within the storage of dates, particularly the yr. As a substitute of allocating 4 digits to carry the yr, many applications allotted two digits, making the belief that the primary two digits had been “19”. For instance, to calculate how previous somebody was, the applying would take the final two digits of the present yr (for 1995, for instance, that will be “95”) after which subtract the 2 digits saved for the birthday yr (“65” for 1965). 95 minus 65 offers an age of 30, which is appropriate.

Nevertheless, because the yr 2000 approached, many of those “legacy” functions had been nonetheless getting used, and companies had been very involved that any software program functions they had been utilizing that wanted to calculate dates would fail. To replace our age-calculation instance, the applying would take the final two digits of the present yr (for 2012, that will be “12”) after which subtract the 2 digits saved for the birthday yr (“65” for 1965). 12 minus 65 offers an age of -53, which might trigger an error. With a purpose to resolve this drawback, functions must be up to date to make use of 4 digits for years as a substitute of two. Fixing this could be a large enterprise, as each line of code and each database must be examined.

That is the place firms gained extra incentive to implement an ERP system. For a lot of organizations that had been contemplating upgrading to ERP methods within the late Nineteen Nineties, this drawback, often called Y2K (yr 2000), gave them the additional push they wanted to get their ERP put in earlier than the yr 2000. ERP distributors assured that their methods had been designed to be Y2K compliant – which merely meant that they saved dates utilizing 4 digits as a substitute of two. This led to an enormous improve in ERP installations within the years main as much as 2000, making the ERP a regular software program software for companies.

Buyer Relationship Administration

A buyer relationship administration (CRM) system is a software program software designed to handle a company’s clients. In at present’s setting, you will need to develop relationships together with your clients, and using a well-designed CRM can enable a enterprise to personalize its relationship with every of its clients. Some ERP software program methods embody CRM modules. An instance of a widely known CRM bundle is Salesforce.

Provide Chain Administration

Many organizations should cope with the advanced activity of managing their provide chains. At its easiest, a provide chain is the linkage between a company’s suppliers, its manufacturing services, and the distributors of its merchandise. Every hyperlink within the chain has a multiplying impact on the complexity of the method: if there are two suppliers, one manufacturing facility, and two distributors, for instance, then there are 2 x 1 x 2 = 4 hyperlinks to deal with. Nevertheless, in case you add two extra suppliers, one other manufacturing facility, and two extra distributors, then you might have 4 x 2 x 4 = 32 hyperlinks to handle.

A provide chain administration (SCM) system manages the interconnection between these hyperlinks, in addition to the stock of the merchandise of their varied levels of improvement. A full definition of a provide chain administration system is supplied by the Affiliation for Operations Administration: “The design, planning, execution, management, and monitoring of provide chain actions with the target of making web worth, constructing a aggressive infrastructure, leveraging worldwide logistics, synchronizing provide with demand, and measuring efficiency globally.”[2] Most ERP methods embody a provide chain administration module.


Simply as with the non-public pc, cell units corresponding to pill computer systems and smartphones even have working methods and software software program. The truth is, these cell units are in some ways simply smaller variations of private computer systems. A cell app is a software program software programmed to run particularly on a cell gadget.

As we noticed in chapter 2, smartphones and tablets have gotten a dominant type of computing, with many extra smartphones being offered than private computer systems. Which means that organizations must get good about growing software program on cell units with a view to keep related.

As of late, most cell units run on certainly one of two working methods: Android or iOS. Android is an open-source working system bought and supported by Google; iOS is Apple’s cell working system. Within the fourth quarter of 2012, Android was put in on 70.1% of all cellphones shipped, adopted by 21.0% for iOS. Different cell working methods of notice are Blackberry (3.2%) and Home windows (2.6%).[3]

As organizations take into account making their digital presence suitable with cell units, they must resolve whether or not to construct a cell app. A cell app is an costly proposition, and it’ll solely run on one kind of cell gadget at a time. For instance, if a company creates an iPhone app, these with Android telephones can’t run the applying. Every app takes a number of thousand {dollars} to create, so this isn’t a trivial determination for a lot of firms.

One possibility many firms have is to create a web site that’s mobile-friendly. A cell web site works on all cell units and prices about the identical as creating an app. We’ll talk about the query of whether or not to construct a cell app extra completely in Chapter 10.

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  1. From Why are your PowerPoints so unhealthy? accessible for obtain at newurbanhabitat.com/freeprize/reallybad-1.pdf. ↵
  2. http://www.apics.org/dictionary/dictionary-information?ID=3984 ↵
  3. Taken from IDC Worldwide Cell Cellphone Tracker, February 14, 2013. Full report accessible at newurbanhabitat.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS23946013 ↵