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Sun Offers Extended Java SE Support for Businesses

In a move that probably surprised very few, Sun will begin to offer extended support for Java under the brand Java SE for Business. With the Open Source version of Java starting to bear fruit, Sun is finally able to execute on the "software as a service" model that has worked for some of the other big companies out there. According to this InternetNews.com article:

This product subscription platform is designed to offer more than double the time Sun (NASDAQ: JAVA) will offer support for each platform release, provide faster access to technology updates and fixes and offer enterprise deployment features for customers.

Pricing is available in three tiers ranging from $10 to $12.50 per employee per year. This more comprehensive offering is aimed at enterprises and other customers that have come to rely on Java, but want a more reliable structure of support they can count on in a timely manner. The highest level, Premium Plus, includes support for Java SE for up to 15 years and includes the ability for a customer to request custom fixes from Sun.

Additionally, it looks like Sun will be providing some extra features not available in the normal support system, including support for Virtualization and integration with xVm Ops Center. All features tha the Business customers request and that get implemented will eventually be released under GPL into the mainstream Java.

With this announcement, I have to wonder: will anyone actually use this? The standard support for a Java release is 7 years 3 years, according to the article. Is there really anyone still using Java 1.2 or Java 1.3 for their production systems? Keep in mind this is for the Java SE system, not Java EE. I guess its possible that they're seeing customers who are not looking to upgrade past 1.4 and really need support. What version of Java are you guys using in your businesses? If you're running mainframes or sensitive systems, have you upgraded to at least Java 5?

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