2.1 - Types of Software

The General Reference
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There are many different types of software, each with different uses, benefits and limitations:

Open source: Software which allows users to view the source code 

  • Supported by a community of users / programmers / online communities and forums 

  • Could be used by a business for communication within an office 

  • Can be customized to fit the needs of the user 

  • Vulnerabilities in the code can be easily found 

Closed source: Software in which the source code cannot be accessed 

  • Often has built in help functions, or contact details to request support  

  • Could be used by a small business who lacks the technical ability to edit the software 

  • Developers provide help and support  

  • Users are unable to modify the code to make it better fit their needs 

Off the Shelf: Software that has full functionality on purchase 

  • Can be bought in a shop or downloaded online 

  • Could be used by a freelance video editor  

  • Cheaper than bespoke and can be used in more situations 

  • Software may contain unnecessary features that cannot be removed 

Bespoke: Software that has been custom built to the clients' requirements 

  • The developer must work closely with the client to create the perfect software 

  • May be used by a company to track their employees’ progress 

  • Software only contains necessary features so works more efficiently for the company 

  • Usually very expensive, much more so than off the shelf 

Shareware: Software that is usually free to begin with but often has limited functionality 

  • Certain features may be omitted from the software 

  • May be used for production of a lite version of software to encourage further payment 

  • Allows users to test out the software without the requirement for payment 

  • Software may only have limited functionality meaning users may be unable to test the features they require 

Freeware: Software that is free to download and use 

  • The software may be only usable for a limited time, until payment is required 

  • May be used for small scale production of graphics within a company 

  • Can be tested and scaled up for free 

  • Software is usually of a lower quality than paid software 

Embedded: Software that is used within larger household devices 

  • The software has a dedicated use and is typically easy to use 

  • May be used within a microwave to display the temperature of the contents 

  • Haves a special, unique purpose so therefore can complete it efficiently 

  • Often lacks memory so it not powerful enough to compete complex tasks 

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