An extra text file distributed with important information about a file or program. This extra file has been distributed since the beginning of computers and distribution.
Some Readme variations include:
"NFO" files (short for "information") are often added by the warez or hacking groups distributing the file to advertize their services or give some hints on how to bypass the copy protection of the software.
- COPYING is a file that must be included with every GPL-licensed program - it contains the entire GPL.
- SETUP and INSTALL are often included with other GPL and open source programs as the description of how to install the program.