> The Sinclair kit always came with a decent sized manual which
> explained things like the screen format, the system variables and so
> on. All the information you needed was there - maybe not described as
> well as it could be, but it was there.
Not always. Once the ZX Spectrum+ came out the manual had been shrunk to
almost nothing. It was practically a guide to plugging it in, switching
it on and loading a game from tape.
> Now, scroll forward to Windows XP, for example, and what do you get?
> a tiny little booklet, of no use what-so-ever, with the most
> important bit of information buried in the small print on page 19 (I
> wonder how many people got that far in reading it?) which states that
> "your administrator user is set up without a password".
> That would be the one that gets caught within 10 minutes of
> connecting to the internet then?
Microsfot always thought that you should pay extra for any information.
As for XP being "0w3d" withn 10 minutes, yes, that was a major
silliness, but only affected the "Home" edition. Basically, up until
Vista Microsoft didn't see any business advantage in taking security
seriously. They could sell more units by making things "easier" even if
this was to the ultimate detriment of the security of the system. (e.g.
Microsoft Outlook pre-opening documents in e-mails as they came in, even
before you read them.)
> Linux systems are a little different, the information is there, but
> as Linux runs on so many different hardware platforms, it's unlikely
> that there will ever be the hardware details for tinkering - but at
> least the OS is well (ok, possibly nearly well) documented.
Actually, with Linux half the information *ISN'T* there as either the
coders thought it was "obvious" or they were too lazy to document it.
Even when documentation is there it's often so out of date to be useless
or is very poorly written by someone who hasn't a clue about technical
> Sinclair was the best, from the ZX81 (In my case) through the
> Spectrum to the QL, all came with excellent manuals.
> Just my £0.02.
Actually, Acorn were just as good in this respect. The BBC manual was an
excellent primer. The Advanced User Guide actually went way beyond the
Sinclair manuals, but it cost money.
The whole bedroom coding thing came from the manuals rather than the
specific hardware, in my opinion. This is why I was a little dismayed
when the Raspberry Pi project decided to drop the idea of commissioning
a tutorial and technical manual to go with the device.