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How Long Does OS Support Last?

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 by | Filed Under: Computer Terms, Security Help

Dale from Kentucky writes:

Since Microsoft won’t support XP any more, I think it’s time for more people to switch to a company that supports its products and doesn’t try to gouge you for money every few years like Apple.

Dale, many people are very happy with Apple’s OS X operating system, but you should know that no company will support an operating system forever.  As I mentioned in a previous article, Microsoft promises security support for operating systems for 10 years from the time they hit the market.

Apple doesn’t clearly spell out his support period , but usually will offer bug and security patches for a period of around four years. Usually Apple will only offer patches for the newest version of its operating system and the one before that. 

Apples quietly retired support for Snow Leopard this year, which left around 20% of Macs open to attack. Apple is not longer charging users to upgrade to the next operating system, but that doesn’t mean your computer can be upgraded. If it doesn’t have the specs to handle the upgrade, you’re in the same boat as an XP user. Apple makes their money when you upgrade to a new device as opposed to selling you the operating system or licensing it to other manufacturers.

You will usually see a new release every six months of an updated version of Linux-based operating systems. This can vary since Linux-based systems are open-source. Ubuntu, for example produces a new Ubuntu Desktop and Server release every six months.

These releases address any bugs or security vulnerabilities reported with the system. Linux upgrades are free.

~ Cynthia

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3 Responses to “How Long Does OS Support Last?”

  1. Thom McMahon says:

    It would be nice if articles like these had a “Print Version”.


    • audra says:

      It does! See the little printer icon at the top left, right under the article title? Click on that, and a printable version will open.

  2. rc primak says:

    Ubuntu Linux Releases are actually supported in two tiers. Long Term Stability (LTS) Releases are supported for two years from their release dates. The most recent LTS Release was Ubuntu 14.04, issued in April, 2014, and supported with updates until April, 2016. The other releases are only supported until the next release comes out (six months).

    Microsoft actually has a five-year Product Life Cycle. Mainstream Support only lasts five years. Security Updates may be offered for up to ten years, but no stability or features updates will be added after the five year Life Cycle ends.See the chart here:

    The Apple information is to the best of my knowledge correct.

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