Do you know what is coming on October 30th, 2009? A comet like Shoemaker-Levy is going to hit Earth and break it into pieces! Or sky is going to fall on our heads. Nothing of that sort is going to happen. It is end of life for J2SE version 1.5 (JDK 1.5). That is, it reaches its EOSL.
EOSL stands for End Of Service Life. It is a general jargon related to product services. It means that, services provided by the authority for the respective product will end on the mentioned date. There will not be any further bug fixes or feature additions or minor upgrades on that respective release.
Do you know J2SE 1.4.2 (JDK 1.4) reached its end of life on October 30th, 2008. In SUN there is a ‘Sun End of Service Life (EOSL) Policy‘. In gist as of the date policy says that they provide support for a minimum of five years after the last ship date. J2SE 1.4.2 EOL transition period began on Dec, 11 2006 and completed on October 30th, 2008.
They also extend support for java based on operating systems. For 1.3 On Windows, Linux, Solaris 9, and Solaris 10 J2SE 1.3.1 the Sun End of Life (EOL) process transition period was from Oct 25, 2004 until the General Availability (GA) of Java SE 6 on December 11th, 2006.
On Solaris 8 – J2SE 1.3.1 is continuing in the Sun End of Life (EOL) process. The EOL transition period began Oct 25, 2004 and will continue until the end of the Solaris 8 five year Vintage Support Period. Effectively comes to end around the end of the current month.
As always told, keep your software updated. When, our ever enthusiastic Tech Lead Jerry asks for approval from our manager Tom he goes for a toss. Tom always asks for 10 reasons or advantages of upgrading from version X to Y. “Give it to me in bullet ed points” ;-)
When it comes to free software, there might be frequent short releases. You will be always tempted to upgrade to the latest version available. It is always good to do but it is a trade-off you need to take based on your project schedule. But for that you cannot postpone software upgrades for ever. You should upgrade at least when there is a major release. You may not feel necessary to upgrade from java 1.4.1 to 1.4.2 but you must upgrade from Java 1.4 to 1.5.
Our intelligent manager goes through the release notes and points out, “See there are no features or bug patches that we need. There is no need for the upgrade”. Being in software business we should understand, release notes are not always comprehensive. There are fine prints like performance improvement or code re-factoring! If you read something like that in release notes then you have to understand that the pumpkin is underneath.
Coming to java, keep you updated with the latest stable version available. Java team almost ensures backward compatibility, so you need not worry. In most of the cases, upgrade should be a cakewalk. If you are working on a legacy system like java 1.2 or some very old versions and there is no possibility of software upgrade, then you can avail commercial support from SUN for products that completed End Of Service Life (EOSL). Even commercial support is available only for around 15 years.