Early Retirement for .NET 3.0 and 3.5

If you're using .NET 3.0 or .NET 3.5, you'll need to migrate to .NET 3.5 SP1 by April 12, 2011

Microsoft has decided to put .NET 3.0 and .NET 3.5 into early retirement! This new support policy change shortens the lifespan of these frameworks by several years. That is pretty dramatic to say the least! The support change means that customers must migrate to .NET 3.5 SP1 by April 12, 2011. That's less than one year away!

The catalyst for this change is the promotion of .NET 3.5 SP1 to Operating System (OS) component. This means that, like other OS components, .NET 3.5 SP1 support will follow that of the Operating System from now on. .NET 2.0 and 1.x are not affected by this new policy.

Previous versions of the .NET framework were released as standalone products. And so, they came with their own end-user license agreement. That agreement usually dictated five years mainstream followed by five years extended support.

There is at least one caveat. Not all .NET 3.5 SP1 frameworks are created equal! For instance, .NET 3.5 SP1 that shipped with Windows Vista has less support time remaining when compared to .NET 3.5 SP1 in Windows 7. That's because Vista predates Windows 7. You can read more about this and other gotchas in the FAQ at the Microsoft .NET Framework Support Lifecycle Policy page, which is also where you can read the details about Microsoft's new policy change. The policy discusses the scope of support with regard to .NET. Here's a direct quote:

For versions of .NET Framework 3.0 and 3.5 prior to .NET Framework 3.5 SP1, support will end on April 12th, 2011. If you are on any version prior to .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 you will no longer be eligible to receive security updates or non-security hotfixes.

The new policy will govern any new framework releases and service packs. Although the migration effort should not be too expensive, it will still require time and resources. I would expect that critical applications would trigger a full regression testing effort. And that's expensive no matter how you choose to look at it. So, it's important to get started with your planning now so that you can make the April 12, 2011 deadline.

Alvin Bruney is a longtime ASP.NET MVP and author of five books. His current book, ASP.NET 4 by Example, is currently available for $20 on www.lulu.com/owc.

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