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The word "application" used as an adjective is not restricted to the "of or pertaining to application software" meaning. For example, concepts such as application programming interface (API), application server, application virtualization, application lifecycle management and portable application apply to all computer programs alike, not just application software.
Apps and killer app
Some applications are available in versions for several different platforms; others only work on one and are thus called, for example, a geography application for Microsoft Windows, or an Android application for education, or a Linux game. Sometimes a new and popular application arises which only runs on one platform, increasing the desirability of that platform. This is called a killer application or killer app. For example, VisiCalc was the first modern spreadsheet software for the Apple II and helped selling the then-new personal computers into offices. For Blackberry it was their email software.
In recent years, the shortened term "app" (coined in 1981 or earlier has become popular to refer to applications for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, the shortened form matching their typically smaller scope compared to applications on PCs. Even more recently, the shortened version is used for desktop application software as well.
There are many different and alternative ways in order to classify application software.
By the legal point of view, application software is mainly classified with a black box approach, in relation to the rights of its final end-users or subscribers (with eventual intermediate and tiered subscription levels).
Software applications are also classified in respect of the programming language in which the source code is written or executed, and respect of their purpose and outputs.
By property and use rights
Application software is usually distinguished among two main classes: closed source vs open source software applications, and among free or proprietary software applications.
Proprietary software is placed under the exclusive copyright, and a software license grants limited usage rights. The open-closed principle states that software may be "open only for extension, but not for modification". Such applications can only get add-on by third-parties.
Free and open-source software shall be run, distributed, sold or extended for any purpose, and -being open- shall be modified or reversed in the same way. Source wikipedia
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