3.3.3 Types of programs
Different programs perform different tasks. For example, there are programs to measure and report temperature, programs governing traffic lights, and programs that allow us to interact with computers and devices.
Sometimes a program category is so common that it receives its own name. A few categories include:
- Firmware − Firmware contains the instructions that the device performs as it boots up. This might be the only software on the device or it may contain instructions to load a more robust operating system. Examples of devices that use firmware include watches, printers, TV sets, sensors, cell phones, routers, and switches. Firmware usually has a considerably smaller set of functionalities and is therefore much smaller in size.
- Operating systems − These are programs written to allow humans to interact with a computer. Examples of operating systems are Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Apple iOS, Android, and Cisco IOS, as shown in the figure.
- Applications − These are programs designed and written to perform a specific task or service. Word processors, image editing tools, spreadsheet editors, collaboration tools, data analysis and monitoring tools are all considered applications.