|Resource type: this resource is a lesson.|
Software enables computer hardware to perform specific tasks. Software, commonly known as programs or applications, consists of all the electronic instructions that tell the hardware how to perform a task. The program you're using right now to view Wikiversity is a type of program called a browser. A browser contains all the instructions that tell your computer how to display a web site. Software is capable of performing many different specific tasks, as opposed to hardware which only perform mechanical tasks that they are designed for. There are three major types of software that most computer users are aware of:
A software license (or software licence in commonwealth usage) is a legal instrument (usually by way of contract law) governing the usage and/or redistribution of software. All software is copyright protected, except material in the public domain. Contractual confidentiality is another way of protecting software. A typical software license grants an end-user permission to use one or more copies of software in ways where such a use would otherwise potentially constitute copyright infringement of the software owner's exclusive rights under copyright law.
Some software comes with the license when purchased off the shelf or an OEM license when bundled with hardware. Software can also be in the form of freeware or shareware. Software licenses can generally be fit into the following categories: proprietary licenses and free and open source licenses, which include free software licenses and other open source licenses. The features that distinguishes them are significant in terms of the effect they have on the end-user's rights.
A free open source license makes software free for inspection of its code, modification, and distribution. Some free licenses, such as the GNU General Public License (GPL), allow the product and/or derivative to be commercially sold.
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