Emulation theory says we should keep the manuals. But the assumption there is that manuals are enough to get systems working, when in reality manuals are atrocious things, badly written and unintelligible.

http://www.asktog.com/columns/017ManualWriting.html (accessed 24.12.07) has this to say about manuals:

“An amazing number of companies rationalize their way out of supplying a manual at all, then complain as loudly as anyone else about the stupid users calling customer support. A manual, since many people apparently don’t know, is made of ground-up dead tree. Those delightful little PDF files that people insist on including on their CD ROM don’t make it. First, my experience has been that Acrobat only opens around 40% of the time. (The rest of the time either it is distressed because it can’t find some infinitely important font it wants or I’ve already got as many windows open as the OS can handle.) Second, even when it does open, these electronic manuals are not only difficult to read, they are anything but portable… Some folks have found a clever way to drive people to piracy even while supplying a dead-tree manual. We now have the spectacle of major software houses, including Microsoft and Apple, turning out atrocious manuals in the full expectation that users will buy “real” manuals in the bookstore, so the users can actually figure out how to use the program. These manufacturer’s junk manuals typically display the characteristics of an edited feature spec, with no thought as to structure. (Sometimes the features are just listed in alphabetical order!) … A lot of bad manuals out there are actually good feature specs that companies have just translated from engineeringese into a human language, then shipped.”

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