EOL (End of Life)

In the computing field, the concept of end-of-life has significance in the production, supportability and purchase of software and hardware products. For example, Microsoft marked Windows 98 for end-of-life on June 30, 2006.

Software produced after that date may not work for it. For example, Microsoft’s product Office 2007 (released November 30, 2006), is not installable on Windows Millennium or any prior versions. Depending on vendor, end-of-life may differ from end of service life, which has the added distinction that a vendor of systems or software will no longer provide maintenance, troubleshooting or other support.

Such software which is abandoned service-wise by the original developers is also called abandonware. Sometimes, software vendors hand over software on end-of-life, end-of-sale or end-of-service to the user community, to allow them to provide service and further upgrades themselves.

Notable examples are the web browser Netscape Communicator, which was released 1998 by Netscape Communications under an open-source license to the public, and the office suite StarOffice which was released by Sun Microsystems in October 2000 as (LibreOffice forked from this).

Sometimes, software communities continue the support on end-of-official-support even without endorsement of the original developer, such developments are then called unofficial patches, existing for instance for Windows 98 or many PC games.

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