There is No Software. Friedrich Kittler. Grammatologies of the present time have to start with a rather sad statement. The bulk of written texts – including this text. The following 3 pages link to this file: Friedrich Kittler · Software studies · File: Kittler Friedrich There is no (file redirect). A few years ago, the literary and media historian Friedrich Kittler opened an essay called “There Is No Software” with a “rather sad statement.” In his view, “the .

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Grammatologies of the present time have to start with a rather sad statement.

Only this paradoxical relation between two physical parameters, thermal continuity and electrical discretization on chip, allows integrated circuits to be not only finite state machines like so many other devices on earth, but to approximate that Universal Discrete Machine into which its inventor’s name has long disappeared.

Finally, this microprocessor found its place in the new desk calculators of Intel’s Japanese customer 1 and our postmodern writing scene began. The high court’s reasoning, according to which without the correspondent electrical charges in softwarw circuitry no computer program would ever run 12can already illustrate the fact that the virtual undecidability between software and hardware xoftware by no means, as system theorists would probably like to believe, from a simple variation of observation points.

This site uses cookies. Rather, there would sftware no software if computer systems were not surrounded any longer by an environment of everyday languages.

Friedrich Kittler (), There is No Software – Hui Yie’s Thinking Blog

Friedrich Kittler is one of Germany’s leading media theorists. I’m recruiting research students – Honours, Masters or PhD. This structural difference can be easily illustrated.

Thus logical depth, in its mathematical rigor, could advantageously replace all the old everyday language definitions of originality, authorship and copyright in their necessary inexactness, were it not for the fact that precisely this algorithm intended to compute the cost of algorithms in general is Turing-uncomputable itself. On the contrary, there are good grounds to assume the indispensability and, consequently, the priority of hardware in general.

Confronted as they are with a continuous environment of weather, waves, and wars, digital computers can cope with this real number-avalanche only by adding element to element.


In fact, it seems to bring back truly magical power; WP does what it says. At the one hand, they bear grandiloquent names such as WordPerfect, on the other hand, they bear a more or less cryptic because non-vocalized acronym such as WP. You must be logged in to post a comment. This environment, however, since a famous and twofold Greek invention, consists of letters and coins, of books and bucks.

This crazy kind of software engineering suffered from an incurable confusion between use and mention. The outcome is a discrete and synthetic microworld image of the original problem, whose structure is arbitrarily fixed by a differencing scheme and computational architecture chosen at random.

Software in the usual sense of an ever-feasible abstraction would not exist any more. For the hardware complexity of such microprocessors simply discards manual design techniques; in order to lay out the next computer generation, the engineers, instead of filling out uncountable meters of blueprint paper, have recourse to Computer Aided Design, that is, to the geometrical criedrich autorouting powers of the actual generation.

As a consequence it is not structurally programmable, and in this case it is effectively programmable only in the limited sense that its state can be set for achieving a limited class of behaviours. In other words, it cannot even “keep sortware with polynomial growth friddrich in problem size. There is No Software Friedrich Kittler Grammatologies of the present time have to start with a rather sad statement. We simply do not know what our writing does.

Sincecomputing, whether done by people or by machines, has been formalized as a countable set of instructions operating on an infinitely long paper band and its discrete signs. Switching components, however, be they telegraph relays, tubes or finally microtransistor cells, pay a price for their very composability. In ikttler to wordprocess a text and, that is, to become yourself a paper machine working on an IBM AT under Microsoft DOS, you need first of all to buy some commercial programs.

At most, finally, there has been, on the sogtware of IBM, research on a mathematical formula that would enable them to measure the distance in complexity between an algorithm and its output. In the USA, notwithstanding all mathematical sofhware, even a copyright claim for algorithms has recently succeeded. And since these cells in the last three decades have shrunk to spatial extensions below one micrometer, our writing may well be defined by a self-similarity of letters over some six decades.


Surely, tapping the letter sequence of “W”, “P” and “enter” on an AT keyboard does not make the Word perfect, but this simple writing act starts the actual execution of WordPerfect.

Unfortunately, with hardware, the rules of interaction are predetermined — we can’t program physics. This is relevant from a perspective of languages, and Kittler suggests that programming languages have softwsre ordinary language and have formed something of a tower of Babel founded on computational equivalence.

Executable computer files encompass, by contrast not only to “WordPerfect” but also to the big, empty old European words such as “Mind” or “Word”, all the old routines and data necessary to their self-constitution. All code operations, despite their metaphoric faculties such as “call” or “return”, come down to absolutely local string manipulations and that is, I am afraid, to signifiers of voltage differences.

WP, when called with command line kitt,er X, would change the monitor screen from color A to B, start in mode C, return finally to D, et cetera ad infinitum.

This all-important property of being programmable has, in all evidence, nothing to do with software; it is an exclusive feature of hardware, more or less suited as it is to house some notation system. This all-important property of being programmable has, in all evidence, nothing to do with software; it is an exclusive feature of hardware, more or less suited as it is to house some notation system.

This manual layout of two thousand transistors and their interconnections was then miniaturized to friedruch size of an actual chip, and, by electro-optical machines, written into silicon layers. Instead, the physical Church-Turing hypothesis, by identifying physical hardware with the algorithm forged for its computation has finally got rid of hardware itself.