We all like to install software and use programs, in fact, we do it all the time. We test applications and if we are unhappy with the application, we then find a new application that does things better. Applications are typically used to make our lives easier, giving us simple ways of interacting with the processor, giving it input and it giving us output, whether for work or for entertainment.
Computers have layers of software, from assembly language to operating systems, and then dependencies and libraries to user applications like chat apps, browsers and video games.
But, could a computer run without software? Technically yes, but you wouldn’t like it and here is why.
How a Computer Works
Computers operate using ones and zeroes, doing things in binary. A one is positive while a zero is negative. However, these ones and zeroes can be used to solve complex equations and give out answers. But, in order to do that, the computer needs input in a language it understands, which is binary.
In order for programmers to have an easier time with something more intuitive, assembly language was created. This served as a layer to translate other high level code, because machine code is really hard to understand. Logical development dictated that we would have layers of code that would help us to create other code, which would be easier to write but still efficient enough to execute through multiple translations.
Running Without Software Could Work
However, you would have to use instructions and tell the machine everything on your own. But, by running someone else’s code, you are still running code, or software, so that doesn’t count. Basically, telling the machine 1:1, what it needs to do, requires language which humans have a hard time understanding, let alone knowing how to use.
While some people might actually know how to read machine code and tell the computer what to do in binary, it is not how a human brain works or likes to work. You could do it, but there is no real reason why you should, unless you want to become a computer and need to learn the ways of the machine.
Software Helps, A Lot
Software is really necessary if you want to do anything efficiently. You cannot hope to use a computer without software. Software is what we use when we open a browser, and that runs on other software, which then tells other software what to eventually tell the processor to do. It is a chain of events that works really well together and allows efficient development and use of applications and even whole systems.
Software is an obligatory part of interacting with any computers and without it, we would be stuck in the earliest days of computing, trying to figure out instruction sets.
Doing things without software is next to impossible, so it isn’t recommended to try and run a computer without software. Luckily, we have tons of software which makes computing a lot easier, if still difficult if you want to do programming.