ArcGIS is the family of products.
but it's a bigger family than you indicate - the term 'ArcGIS' includes
the ArcGIS Desktop, but also ArcGIS Server, plus the developer
environment based on ArcGIS Engine.
If we concentrate on ArcGIS
Desktop, as it is what most people here would use, it comes in three
licence level products, called ArcView, ArcEditor, and ArcInfo, with
increasing levels of functionality. Note that ArcView is intended
primarily as a viewer and exploration tool, and it is the ArcEditor
level that is aimed at professional creation and manipulation of data,
and at cartographic production. ArcInfo is the top-end level, aimed at
heavy analysis and bulk processing.
Simplistically, you don't buy ArcGIS, you buy ArcView, or ArcEditor, or ArcInfo.
ArcGIS, you have three main programs - ArcView, ArcCatalog, and
ArcToolbox (at ArcGIS 9.0, ArcToolbox is integrated into ArcView, and
no longer stand-alone).
Not quite - the main components (Desktop Applications) of ArcGIS 9.1 Desktop are ArcCatalog, ArcMap and ArcGlobe.
Think of ArcCatalog as your 'Windows Explorer' for GIS tool. ArcView is the primary program.
Better to say that ArcMap is the primary program.
Within ArcView, you have levels of functionality - ArcInfo, ArcEditor, ArcView.
... Within ArcGIS Desktop, you have ...
It depends upon the licensing you buy, and the level of complexity you need.
What confuses things even more, is the old ArcInfo Desktop, which is a command line interface.
Referred to these days as ArcInfo Workstation.
And, of course, ArcView 3.2, which is the 'old', 'basic' version of GIS.
This is sufficently old that it predates the ArcGIS concept.
ArcInfo is the 'highest' level of functionality. A lot of people
can get away with using ArcView without a problem.
It depends what the task is, and for production cartography, then ArcEditor would often be more appropriate.
Generally, you can say both 'I use ArcGIS 9.1' and 'I use ArcView 9.1', and it will mean the same thing.
a company will say ""we use ArcGIS 9.1"", while a particular operator may
say ""I use ArcView 9.1"", or may say ""I use ArcEditor 9.1"", or I Use
Sorry about the length of this reply, but casual
use of nomencature is a source of confusion, and I think it helps if we
try and use the standard terms.
Final comment - what I say is a brief summary of my understanding - see [url="http://"http://www.esri.com/products.html"]http://www.esri.com/products.html[/url] for the full story.