In a bid to provide additional value to paid subscribers and to better differentiate community versus Enterprise releases of the popular Spring framework, SpringSource has announced an upgrade to its Enterprise maintenance policy:
Customers who are using SpringSource Enterprise, available under a subscription, will receive maintenance releases for three years from the general availability of a major new version. These customers receive ongoing, rapid patches as well as regular maintenance releases to address bugs, security vulnerabilities and usability issues, making SpringSource Enterprise the best option for production systems.
After a new major version of Spring is released, community maintenance updates will be issued for three months to address initial stability issues. Subsequent maintenance releases will be available to SpringSource Enterprise customers. Bug fixes will be folded into the open-source development trunk and will be made available in the next major community release of the software.
This is good for SpringSource customers, and should be good for SpringSource's top-line revenue as it should motivate more Spring users to become SpringSource Enterprise customers. My only question is whether the company should even be providing those first three months of bug fixes on community distributions, given that this might be considered a service for which Spring users should pay.
Regardless, this is SpringSource's chosen direction, and perhaps made easier by "Enterprise-class features" available only to paid subscribers, making it easier for SpringSource to feed its community while simultaneously feeding itself. Good move.