Difference Between Software and Program
Software vs Program
The terms software and program are used interchangeably as they often refer to the same thing in daily usage. Even though they very close to synonymous, there are still minor differences between them should distinguish one from the other. Software is a very broad term that is used to identify programs, data, and other related files that are used to accomplish certain tasks in a computer or any other device that is performs a computing task. In this sense, we can say that even a program is also a software. But in the broader meaning of the word, a program is any set of instructions that are executed by a machine.
As an example, let’s say that you have a software that records names and addresses in a database. The program and the database are parts of the software but the database is not program. It is simply an accessory to the program that makes it more useful.
Software, including programs, is usually stored in storage media like flash memory or hard drives. This makes it easy for the hardware to retrieve the information quickly and automatically. But programs already existed prior to the coining of the word software. Even before computers, programs were already in use. An excellent example would be the punch cards used by Jacquard looms in weaving clot way back in the beginning of the 19th century. It automated the process and the weavers can pick the design by picking the correct punch cards that contain the program.
With these differences in mind, it is quite correct to refer to computer programs as software as they are actually software. Just take not that not all parts of a software package are programs since not all of them contain instructions. Some of them merely contain data or even images that the program uses in its user interface. Lastly, although most programs are now software, not all are.
1. Software is a broad term that covers computer programs as well as the components that it needs to run while program is a term used to describe any code that is used to run a device
2. Programs existed before software
3. Software typically consists of files while programs can be files or even punch cards
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