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MySQL 3.23 and MySQL 4.0 users will have to buy a subscription to receive updates after Aug. 1 and Oct. 1 respectively

MySQL has published its first "end of life" timetable for its open-source database and will no longer provide free updates for some older versions of the product starting next month, it said this week.

The company has been relatively generous in the past in providing free updates for versions of its database as old as five years or more. Maintaining several releases at once costs the company money, however, and it will soon start charging for updates to the older versions, MySQL said.

"Keeping older versions alive for a long time is appreciated by our community and our customers alike. However, we are no longer in a position to maintain our older versions without remuneration," Kaj Arno, MySQL's vice president for community relations, wrote in the company's blog Wednesday.

Customers using MySQL 3.23 and MySQL 4.0 will have to buy a MySQL Network Subscription to receive binary updates for those products after Aug 1 (for 3.23) and Oct. 1 (for 4.0), Arnö wrote. A basic subscription starts at US$595 per server per year in the U.S., or €495 in Europe.

"We are also evaluating whether we will continue hosting archived versions of old binaries, as well as the timeline for the support of MySQL 4.1," Arno wrote. The source code for the 3.23 and 4.0 releases will still be available, he said.

The decision was made after "long internal discussions, that were not always easy," Arno wrote. His posting, with a link to MySQL's new "lifecycle policy," is at http://www.planetmysql.org/kaj/.

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