In support situations, one thing that tech support likes to get is a reproducible error - it's hard to diagnose a problem that can only be vaguely defined. It can get even harder if the problem only crops up under a set of circumstances that are fairly unique to a specific installation. Enter the Smaltalk image - here's a message I got from a customer:
Yesterday, we were having a subtle CORBA issue.
The problem occurred when processing CORBA events from a device in our lab ( an Alcatel 5620 Network Management device in case you are interested).
The developers were able to step through the code in our lab environment with all the devices we typically connect to in play, and at the point of failure, save the image.
They then sent the image to CINCOM for further analysis.
At CINCOM, they brought up the image, and continued the investigation (from precisely the point of failure), identified the problem, and between the two of us, a fix was determined.
The fix was then applied to our dev environment, and we were back in business.
Less than 24 hours start-to-finish.
I contrast this with Java, where we have previously spent many weeks trying to come up with a 'reproduction scenario' that the Java vendor could then use to debug the problem outside our labs!
When in doubt, send the image - that way, the support guys can see the actual problem in the actual running environment. That's one of the values of having an image.