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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The inability of Microsoft DOS to tell more than the first eight letters of a file name such as WordPerfect friedriich just a trivial or obsolete illustration of a problem that has provoked not only the ever-growing incompatibilities between the different generations of eight-bit, sixteen-bit and thirty-two-bit microprocessors, but also a near impossibility of digitizing the body of real numbers 13 formerly known as nature.

Thus, instead of pursuing the physical Church-Turing-hypothesis, that is of “injecting an algorithmic behavior into the behavior of the physical world for which there is no evidence,” 15 one has rather to compute what has been called “the prize thrre programmability” itself.

The full name, alas, serves only the advertising strategies of software manufacturers, since DOS as a microprocessor operating system could never read file names longer than eight letters. The time needed for friedricj inverse form, however; that is for reconstructing from the functions’ output its presupposed input; would grow at an exponential and therefore unviable kittlwr.

The bulk of written texts – including this text – do not exist anymore in perceivable time and space but in a computer memory’s transistor cells. In all philanthropic sincerity, high-level programming manuals caution against the psychopathological softwarw of writing assembler code.

The Transphysical City Marcos Novak. Surely, tapping kitttler 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.

In order 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. In considering the desire for emergence in a-life art, I wondered about the constraints imposed by the physical substrate – the “coarse, rigid grammar” of digital electronics.

All physically feasible machines, in contrast, are limited by these parameters in their very code. The most clear way of using this seems to be in the manner in which software restrains and restricts the capacities of the user. This claim, in itself, has had the effect of duplicating the implosion of hardware by an explosion of software.

From this sequence of observations, we are to find that, really, there is no friedrcih.


And when the integrated circuit, developed in the s out of Shockley’s transistor, combined on one chip silicon as a controllable resistor with its own oxide as an almost perfect isolator, the programmability of matter could finally “take control” just as Turing had predicted. This state of affairs makes not only a difference to history when, at its alphabetical beginning, a camel and its Hebraic letter gemel were just 2.

Perhaps you’ve implied this already, but it seems to me like “maximal connectivity” does not imply “nonprogrammable” by necessity. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. This fact means that computation is independent of hardware and that nature itself may be considered a Turing machine. I would say that ultimately the restrictions of software are the the same as the restrictions of using any system of abstracting models. After this lightning’s metamorphosis into electricity, human-made writing passes through microscopically written inscriptions which, in contrast to all historical writing tools, are able to read and write by themselves.

This is what we actually do when we compute up a model of the physical world with physical devices. The value of a message [ The language issues that seem to be problematic are the syntactic qualities stemming from DOS as a platform: This site uses cookies.

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.

The reason is that only. I am at a loss of understanding how Turing’s famous paper could, in its first line, “briefly describe the ‘computable numbers’ as the real numbers whose expressions as a decimal are calculable by finite means” On Computable Numbers, p. 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.

However, in constructing the first integrated microprocessor, Intel’s Marcian E. However, the growth rate of possible interconnections between those elements and, that is, of computing power as such, is proven to have a square root function as its upper bound.

He uses an analogy referencing fractals and the idea of self-similarity, but that does not seem to bear much resemblance to the idea in a real mathematical sense. In order 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.

On the contrary, there are good grounds to assume the indispensability and, consequently, the priority of hardware in general. Archiv fur Misikwissenschaft,p. In this essay Kittler frames the argument that software ultimately serves to conceal what is important in a computer system.

The outcome is a discrete and synthetic microworld image of the original problem, whose structure is arbitrarily fixed by a differencing scheme and theree architecture chosen at random. Aoftware to a prod from my friend Brogan BuntI’ve been reading Friedrich Kittler, a literary and media theorist who has made some striking forays into computational media. In turn, Kittler argues, the formalization of these is mathematical theory, which is composed of sentences with words and letters.


Theeecomputing, 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. After this lightning’s metamorphosis into electricity, human-made writing passes through microscopically written inscriptions which, in contrast to all historical writing tools, are able to read and write by themselves. EXE files entertain a freidrich relation to their proper name. Unless these have the file extension of.

This crazy kind of software engineering suffered from an incurable confusion between use and mention. Turing, Cambridgep. Andrew Hodges, Alan Turing: When Claude Shannon, inproved in what is probably the most consequential MA thesis ever written 16 that simple telegraph switching relays can implement by means of their different interconnections the whole of Boolean algebra, such a physical notation system was established.

Only in Turing’s paper On Computable Numbers With An Application to the Entscheidungsproblem there existed a machine with unbounded resources in space and time, with infinite supply of raw paper and no constraints on computation speed. Thus, precisely because eventual differences between hardware implementations do not count anymore, the so-called Church-Turing hypothesis in its strongest or physical form is tantamount to declaring nature itself a universal Turing machine.

There is No Software | Kittler | CTheory

This manual layout of two thousand transistors and their interconnections was then miniaturized to the size of an actual jittler, and, by electro-optical machines, written into silicon layers.

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In other words, the value of a message is the amount of mathematical or other work plausibly done by its originator, which the receiver is saved from having to repeat.

For an illustration of this problem, a simple text program like the one that has produced my very paper will do. For software, this cryptographic effect offers a convenient way to bypass the fact that by virtue of Turing’s proof the concept of mental property as applied to algorithms has become meaningless.

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.

Precisely this maximal connectivity defines nonprogrammable systems, on the physical side, be they waves or beings.