Bulletin Board: A host computer system that can be accessed by other computers through telephone lines. Bulletin boards generally contain messages from members as well as programs that can be copied. Many large bulletin boards have “nodes,” or branch offices, in various locations around the country so that users don't have to make long- distance calls to access the board. Pirate boards make illegally copied software available to board users.
Couriers: Computer operators who help bulletin boards by moving data, such as messages and programs, from one node to another, generally through telephone-line transmissions. On pirate boards, the couriers generally use illegally obtained credit card numbers to avoid paying for the telephone time.
Electronic Mail: Messages that are left on a computer bulletin board for other users.
End-user: A person who actually uses a software package or a piece of hardware. As opposed to a dealer, who resells the software or hardware.
Hacker: Someone who breaks computer codes for such purposes as gaining access to computer networks, obtaining telephone credit card numbers or breaking (“cracking”) copy-protection codes on software.
Intellectual Property: A general term referring to products in which an idea or an expression is the essential commodity, including not only software but also other copyrightable or patentable products such as films, music, formulas for pharmaceuticals, industrial processes and so on.
Modem: A piece of “peripheral” computer equipment that is hooked up to a computer and used to send and receive data across telephone lines.
Motherboard: The main electronic circuit board in a computer. The motherboard contains the microprocessor (the powerful computer chip that in effect forms the brain of the computer) and has slots for add- on circuit boards, such as a video card to activate a display terminal, extra memory and interface boards for other equipment such as image scanners.
Peripheral: Any piece of equipment that may be attached to a computer, such as a display terminal, a modem or a mouse.
Shareware: Software that the copyright-holder allows to be copied and distributed without charge. The person who receives shareware is asked -- and is legally obliged -- to pay the copyright holder a fee if he decides to continue using the software after a set period of time.
Source Code: Most packaged software is coded in a complex “machine language” of numerals and symbols that even most programmers cannot read. To produce this complex language needed by the computer, the program is first written in a readable source code, which employs words, abbreviations and a relatively small number of symbols. Then a “compiler” program translates the source code into machine language that the computer can understand.
Upload/Download: If you transfer data from your computer to another computer, you are uploading the data; transferring data from a remote computer to your computer is downloading.
Utilities: Utilities are programs that are designed to help your computer work better in some way, as opposed to programs that are meant to perform tasks resulting in output, such as writing a letter. There are, for example, utilities for diagnosing problems with a computer's hard disk, or for detecting faulty memory chips.