Farewell .NET 7, support ends in May – we hardly knew you

Standard Term Support means only 18 months before retirement

Support for Microsoft's .NET 7 software framework ends in May, a mere 18 months after its 2022 release – a reminder that the days of enterprise-pleasing long-term updates are receding into the past.

.NET 7 made its debut on November 8, 2022, and unlike its predecessor, is a Standard Term Support (STS) release meaning that its support period is 18 months. .NET 6 and .NET 8 are both Long Term Support (LTS) releases, which get three years before Microsoft pulls the plug.

The end of support will not have an immediate impact on applications that use .NET 7. Microsoft has assured developers that applications will continue to run, but there will be no assistance or security updates from the company.

This also means that should any vulnerability show up after support ends, Microsoft is unlikely to fix it.

The short lifespan of .NET 7 should not come as a surprise, but with enterprises preferring more lengthy support timeframes – version 4.6.2 of the venerable .NET Framework is good until January 12, 2027 – shortened support periods present a challenge to stability.

The .NET (formerly .NET Core) framework is Microsoft's attempt to move to an open source future away from the closed nature of its predecessor. However, this has also shortened lifecycles familiar to users of other open source projects.

Container orchestration technology Kubernetes, for example, offers approximately one year of patch support for each release.

That said, Canonical recently announced the addition of two more years of support to LTS editions of Ubuntu from 14.04 onward.

The impending demise of support for .NET 7 signals Microsoft's desire to move on from legacy code. It might be a boon for developers maintaining years-old software, but it is less ideal for enterprises not keen on revalidating frequently or worrying about nasty security surprises. ®

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