System software are programs which hold instructions related with the working of the hardware and software of the computer system. System Software behaves like an incharge and performs the responsibility of overall supervision of input, processing and output of data. In other words, it is a set of programs the purpose of which is to increase, the capabilities of the system and thus, make the use of computer more effective. This part of the computer is the domain of computer manufacturer in which a variety of functions are implemented quite economically. These software are also called Firmware. It keeps track of all the peripherals equipment attached with the computer, and monitors their activities. It is the necessary software that administer and manage the computer resources and operations in the best possible way.
System computer Software are divided into two categories.
- Operating Systems
Operating System (OS) is the most important type of system software and can be defined as a set of programs which coordinate and control computer operations. It is a program or a series of programs which provides communication between the user and the computer hardware. Main functions of an operating system are:
- Job control
- Memory management
- Keep track of computer resources
- Produce error messages
All these functions are discussed in detail in chapter 9 under their individual topics.
Translators are programs which convert instructions in assembly language or high level languages into machine languages because computer can only understand machine language. Since it is difficult to write programs in machine language, therefore, it is more usual to allow the computer to convert the program by using translation software.
During the translation process, errors detected by the translator are listed. Any violation of a programing rule considered as syntax error (comparing with the syntax of that particular language). If some instruction is erroneously coded e.g. AD instead of ADD in assembly language, an error message is displayed. Logical errors are those in which the sequence of programming steps have not been code properly. These cannot be detected during this process. During translation, the machine has no way of judging the logic in a program. This can be tested only by executing or running the program on the computer.