<convention> An introduction traditionally included in the top-level directory of a Unix source distribution, containing a pointer to more detailed documentation, credits, miscellaneous revision history, notes, etc. The file may be named README, or READ.ME, or rarely ReadMe or readme.txt or some other variant.
In the Macintosh and IBM PC worlds, software is not usually distributed in source form, and the README is more likely to contain user-oriented material like last-minute documentation changes, error workarounds, and restrictions.
The README convention probably follows the famous scene in Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures In Wonderland" in which Alice confronts magic munchies labelled "Eat Me" and "Drink Me".
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Nearby terms: RE « re « read-eval-print loop « README file » Read-Only Memory » read-only user » real