If you hate technical manuals as a matter of principle, we can’t blame you. This one, at first glance, looks very thick, it only has a handful of pictures, and it’s not even typeset.

Well, think of it as a beat up old Buick. It may not be pretty, but it’s comfortable and reliable.

Writing a set of manuals that covers an operating system is a difficult task. When the operating system is one that emulates Bell Lab’s UNIX, the task becomes almost overwhelming. The standard Bell Lab’s documentation is a 6” thick stack of technicalese, daunting to even the most hardy of individuals. Their documentation was written over a period of ten years, by many different people, in a variety of styles.

Our documentation has to be somewhat different. Instead of tens of programmers contributing, Gary Fitts wrote the Micronix operating system and Len Edmondson wrote most of the programs. They wrote many of the entries in the Reference Manual, and provided the technical editing necessary for accuracy in the User’s Guide.

The User’s Guide to Micronix was written in an atmosphere of friendly chaos by John VanderWood and myself. Part of the chaos revolved around a change of attitude that made it possible to rewrite the old manual in a much more amiable style. That made us happy. But, naturally, this project was scheduled to be finished before it even began. Add to this the simultaneous improvements to the existing software by Gary and Len, and the feeling we had was one of running a race in shifting sand. The goal, a complete and easy to understand User’s Guide, was like a mirage shimmering in the distance.

Result: the majority of the User’s Guide is pretty good, with the possible exception of Tutorials, which we haven’t had time even to look at yet. The Reference Manual still needs some work; at least it’s as accurate as human imperfection allows.

Most of this manual was written in the stimulating and distracting environment of Morrow’s engineering department. We received a lot of support from Bob Groppo, the S—100 project engineer, and further assistance and distraction from John Zalabak, Dave Block, Don Mowry, Howard Fullmer and Ken Toland. Customer service got into the act, mainly in the person of Norm Tilbury, who read and corrected drafts. Dana Tilbury and Lawrence Curtis, who together have installed (at the “factory”), more Micronix systems than anybody in the world, also read and commented on drafts of the User’s Guide.

We hope that this edition of the Micronix Manuals enlightens more than frustrates. There should be a great big “Under Construction, Hard Heads Required” sign at the beginning of this manual. We’ve tried all of the examples provided, and can only pray that the distribution software that you’re using is the same as what we work with. If you find parts that confuse you, discover better examples, or can’t find something you need to know about, write us a note, care of Documentation, at Morrow.

Take care, and much good fortune,

Rik Farrow, June 30, 1983