Re: A usage question

Subject: Re: A usage question
From: Len Olszewski <saslpo -at- UNX -dot- SAS -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 3 May 1993 13:47:34 -0500

> Now for something a lot more specific:

> > I have found also that educating people about the "behind-the-scenes"
> > interactions of one software with another ...
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^

> I seem to be hearing this more and more, but I don't think I've seen it
> written before this. I always use "software" as a collective noun or as
> an adjective. (I would never say, "I lost my self-control and bought
> three softwares for my PC on the way home from work.") Is the above
> usage and similar ones, such as "a new software for the Mac," acceptable
> in writing? in formal speech? (I don't ask about informal speech, because
> there I accept whatever communicates best.)

> -Fred Jacobson
> Product Center Writer
> Boole & Babbage Network Systems
> fred -at- boole -dot- com

I think this is idiomatic; usage here determines correctness.
Technically, this is correct. If you ask a developer "What do you write
all day?", she can correctly reply "Software". That means it is a noun.
You can qualify it, as in "I write applications software, Jack writes
systems software, and Mary writes utility software." Once you buy into
this usage, it's not that big a leap to say something like "...the
interactions of applications software with utility software", which
isn't that far from "...interactions of one software with another..."

It would sound less odd, in this case, if "software" became an
adjective, as in "...interactions of one software product with
another.." or something like that, but I can't say that the above usage
is incorrect.

|Len Olszewski, Technical Writer |"Gee, Mr. Peabody..." |
|saslpo -at- unx -dot- sas -dot- com|Cary, NC, USA| -Sherman |
| Opinions this ludicrous are mine. Reasonable opinions will cost you.|

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