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Exclusive SpringSource is updating its controversial maintenance policy three weeks after encountering a barrage of criticism.

The steward of the popular open-source Spring Framework has revealed that it plans a stripped-down version of the maintenance policy for small businesses.

The company will also tag code in its Spring repository, in what appears to be an attempt to help identify code eligible for support under the maintenance agreement. The changes, understood to be imminent, do not represent a change of heart but are more intended to extend SpringSource's support coverage to a larger number of users.

Separately, SpringSource is in talks to make its second ever acquisition, following January's purchase of Covalent Technologies, a leading contributor to Apache Software Foundation (ASF) open source projects.

This time around the deal is for a company and project involved in Java productivity. SpringSource was unable to provide further details of the changes to the maintenance policy or of its planned acquisition.

SpringSource, busy making its way as an OSGi-compliant application server and services company using the Spring Framework, predictably upset its community last month with news of the enterprise maintenance policy.

The policy limits who receives the latest updates to the framework and when they get them. Customers on the subscription-based enterprise maintenance contract will get maintenance releases and patches for three years after a "major new version." Going from a version 2.5 to 3.0 or 3.0 to 3.1 is defined as a "major release" by SpringSource.

"Community maintenance" updates for major updates will be released for three months after launch to address what Spring called "initial stability issues."

SpringSource's widespread flaming follows a similar decision by MySQL in April to hold back certain features in the open-source database for paying customers.

Initially, the plan was to reserve enterprise data-back up capabilities but this was then reversed. Sun's MySQL will now hold back a new monitoring tool for use under the MySQL Enterprise subscription that's due this quarter. ®

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