My intern this summer spent a couple of weeks writing a cool readme generator which takes bugs written using a specific template and generates the readme and known issues document we will ship with Visual Studio 2005. 

Last week, I spent a few hours with one of our Release Managers and our User Education author going through the readme, editing it for grammar and technical accuracy and fixing any formatting problems.  The final readme was checked in last Wednesday (a sign that we're really close to shipping).

After all that work and documenting the issues we know about, how important is the readme?

Do you read ReadMe files?  Do you read it before you install the product?  Do you read it after you run into an issue?

I've always wondered if people read the readme file.  To be honest, before I had to work on the readme, I never read any readmes before.  Now that I know what goes in a readme, it's the first document I read when I run into a problem.

Let me know if you do or don't read the readme file.  It'll help me figure out if we really need to spend all this time on future readme documentation.

Thanks!