Mutual Motions research revisited - An essay : Internationalization: software, universality and otherness
The questions of ’otherness’ or the Other is rarely posed in relation to software as such. This is because universality figures so large in software. Software makes historically and materially specific claims to actual universality (think of Java’s â€œWrite one, run anywhereâ€ promise). This tends to push questions of otherness in software aside. Software, by virtue
of the notions of universality attached to numbering systems (decimal or binary), to computation (Universal Turing Machine) and to global technoculture itself, seems virulently universal. When figures of otherness appear around software, they tend to be pathological. Pathological software forms such as viruses, worms, trojan horse or even bugs are one facet of otherness marked in software. Much of the architecture and design,
as well as much everyday work, pivots on security measures meant to regulate the entry and presence of these others, and at the same time to permit software to translate smoothly between institutional, political, linguistic and economic contexts.
Adrian Mackenzie, October 2006