chapter  3
28 Pages

Buying Software

WithRonald G. Albright

Before people have a computer, buying software—and they can apply this to any software—should be a four-step process, they should: identify their needs, talk to other computer users, choose the software, and choose hardware that will run the software. Software is marketed and distributed through four basic channels. In order of price, but certainly not sophistication or capabilities, kinds of software, based on their distribution channels, are public domain, user-supported, commercial, and customized. While user-supported software is certainly "commercial" in every sense of the word, this category will be used to group that software produced and distributed through more traditional outlets—computer and software stores and mail-order companies. Several of the larger general communications and information systems make available software specifically designed for use on their networks. They may be produced by the system themselves, such as AT&T's Mail Access PLUS or CompuServe's Professional Connection.