Computer software applications have one function, to help the computer user use the computer more efficiently. Various applications exist for this purpose and all have very different functions including gaming software, productivity software and more. Some of the popular types of computer application software include enterprise software, media access and media development, product engineering and simulation, content access and content management.
Computer application software such as the Microsoft Office Suite is designed to allow the computer user to perform more productively in the office, school and other situations. Using the separate applications in the Suite, anyone can create word processing, presentations, spreadsheets, web page designs, image designs, collaboration and more.
One of the biggest problems with computer application software is the licensing rights involved with the development of the software. Intellectual property rights includes the copyright, patent or trademark involved with the software and its developer. These rights come in various forms of openness, or the ability to reproduce the software and they include abandonware, shareware, freeware, public domain and open source.
All computer application software programs have a single license or copyright and the software developer usually owns it. That developer then decides how to distribute the software and attaches the appropriate rights to it. Each of these rights has a specific way of distribution and the rights disallow anyone from using the code in any other programs without explicit permission from the owner of the rights. This code is what makes the computer application software run with the computer it is used on.
Freeware is free for anyone to use, even though it is still copyrighted. Abandonware is a form of stealing the software because copyright laws specifically state that anything with a copyright to be abandoned requires the original holder of the rights to be dead for at least 70 years or have sold the rights previously to someone who made them public. Shareware is the type that offers free trials then requires the user to pay at the end of the trial period.
Public Domain is when the author of the software declares that the code can never be copyrighted. Open Source is the most complicated because it can be free or one must pay for it. However, the difference with this software is that it gives the user the ability to use the code to develop derivative software applications from it. In most cases, this type of software requires an attribution to the original author and this is usually the only requirement if payment is not necessary.
A copy of licensed software is usually purchased with a product or license key. This key must be entered when the user installs the computer application program on the computer in question. In many cases, if the user of the program does not have the correct product or license key, the computer application software will not work, or has limited capabilities.
Additionally, when a person purchases a software application program, such as Microsoft programs, the person is buying a copy of the program itself and the right to use it. Making a copy of this copy is illegal, except as a back up copy with the intention to replace the original in the case of an unforeseen event or if permission is granted under the other types of licenses.