Re: Definitions of Software and Database

From: Bob Hairgrove <>
Date: Fri, 03 Feb 2006 22:26:58 +0100
Message-ID: <>

On 3 Feb 2006 10:05:46 -0800, "dawn" <> wrote:

>I thought I would start a new thread since the other was quite OT. x
>said there was likely a legal definition of software and I haven't
>searched for that yet, but I did find a legal def of database at

Legal according to what body of law?

>"'database' shall mean a collection of independent works, data or
>other materials arranged in a systematic or methodical way and
>individually accessible by electronic or other means."

IANAL, but I question this definition because it is too catch-all for me. What are "other means"? Let's stick to computers, please ... otherwise, I'd have to accept the definition of the local public library, anno 1952, with no computer and all its books published on paper and bound in some heavy paper, cardboard or leather as a "database"...managed by a stack of filing cards stored in lots of wooden trays in cabinets located somewhere in a central area of the main reading room.

For someone interested in intellectual property litigation, that definition might be useful. But for most of us here, mostly database programmers or DBA's, I think we need to make a distinction. However, I will admit that new methods of data storage and retrieval make such definitions pretty much a moving target, and this IMHO is just to cover all the bases.

>By this definition, would "software" be a database? It might be
>interesting to see how legal def of software and database differ from
>each other and from country to country.

Perhaps, but let's try to answer this question by asking another question: aren't ALL databases software? I think most of us here would say yes. And software is something special to computers, at least for all intents and purposes.

And another question: Was there software before databases? Again, I think most people here would agree that databases, as we know them, are a very specific application of software, albeit rich in variety ... but there is certainly software out there which isn't database software (e.g., Microsoft Access? <g,d,rlh> ... I'm sure there are other examples, though ...)

>Anyway, to get this particular thread started, my question is: What is
>a precise definition fof the term "software" when used in the phrase
>"software developer" and (how) does software relate to databases?

If you will give me three reasons why I should believe that you are not a troll, I will continue.

Bob Hairgrove
Received on Fri Feb 03 2006 - 22:26:58 CET

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