A few weeks before the upcoming release of OpenOffice.org 3.2, the OpenOffice.org Community is formally announcing "end-of-life" status for the legacy version 2.x series of its productivity suite.
With each new release, users are strongly encouraged to upgrade, to benefit from new features, bug fixes and security improvements. After a new major release, the community supports legacy releases for a period of time to help users with upgrading and migrating. With version 3.x being available for more than 15 months now, the Community has decided it is time to cease maintaining the 2.x software. As a consequence, OpenOffice.org 2.4.3 will be the last release of the legacy 2.x series and no subsequent bugfix or security releases will be made available.
This end-of-life policy only applies for the Community version of OpenOffice.org obtained via http://download.openoffice.org. Linux distributors and service companies often have their own product lifecycle policies and might support the productivity suite for a shorter or longer period of time. Sun Microsystems commercial support plans also continue to support OpenOffice.org version 2.x.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What does end-of-life status mean? Is the software unusable now?
A: The end-of-life status means that support with patches, bugfixes and security updates is no longer available from the Community. Of course, the software is still usable, and you may still be able to obtain product support from Community members via email, mailing lists and forums.
Q: So, can I go on using the old version?
A: Technically, yes. However, due to important bugfixes and security improvements found in newer releases of the software, the community strongly encourages every user to upgrade to the latest release.
Q: I'm a Linux user, and my copy of OpenOffice.org comes from my distributor's repository. Am I affected?
A: Linux distributors often have their own product lifecycle policy and may support their versions of OpenOffice.org for a shorter or longer period of time by "backporting" updates and bugfixes. Please check with your distributor.
Q: Why can't the community support older releases for a longer period of time?
A: Releasing bugfixes, patches and security improvements for older releases takes a lot of resources. Releasing legacy versions is as much effort as releasing current versions, with localization and QA being involved. As most users upgrade to a new version in a short period of time, and as rollout cycles in companies usually last from 3 to 12 months, the Community needs to concentrate its resources where they are most effective, in new versions.
There is also a number of independent service companies providing long-term support, who may support "end of life" releases.