English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm writing an academic paper that deals with classifying software and I'm trying to think of a term to describe software that is still being actively developed, with new versions being released periodically, like Windows, MS Office, Firefox, etc. An example of software that wouldn't be included in such a group would be any type of legacy software.

Terms that come to mind are "survived" and "endured", but I'm sure there must be a better word. Any suggestions?

share|improve this question

As someone who has had to buy software a lot in the past, an important term used is "supported". This means the company will help fix problems, send out patches for bugs, etc. We also would make reference to it being "an active project."

Maybe "continuing"?

share|improve this answer
+1 for "supported" and "active." – MrHen Apr 1 '11 at 19:03
+1 for supported and active. And +1 for @MrHen Software that is actively developed and upgraded is "supported". Similarly, once software leaves development and test, it goes into production, and is active. Also, "active" is the opposite of "deprecated". – Ellie Kesselman Oct 21 '11 at 1:05

Depending on the stage in the development cycle, pre-released software is normally classified as pre-alpha, alpha or beta.

RTM software is "released to manufacturing" or "released to marketing". It is then known as "generally available", or said to have "gone live".

Plenty of terms at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_release_life_cycle and the links there.

share|improve this answer
I encounter plenty of RTFM software.... – mickeyf Apr 1 '11 at 18:04

Any of these ?

  • mature
  • established, settled,
  • alive and kicking, dynamic
  • active

And if it's developed in Java:

  • full of beans
share|improve this answer
"Alive and kicking" probably defines it best, but I need a more precise term:) – user6783 Apr 1 '11 at 8:54

Legacy software does not sound too great either. Maybe "discontinued".

As for the actively developed software: maybe

  • current
  • s/w with an active lifecycle
  • in production
  • with active support
share|improve this answer
I believe "legacy software" is accepted usage, though. – JPmiaou Apr 1 '11 at 13:23
Doesn't legacy imply an old, archaic system that survives purely due to it being difficult or impossible to replace? – MrHen Apr 1 '11 at 15:00

A couple of contexts:
1. Usually you can buy software maintanance if software is alive.
2. New features are added as project evolves.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.