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PLEASE NOTE: JDK6 [is|was] formerly known as Project Mustang

In the previous sentence what is correct 'is' or 'was'? and why?

While reading a bug report I found this sentence with 'is' and now I'm wondering what is correct.

BUG 6399361

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@RegDwightΒВBẞ8, thanks for the comment, I have fixed it – user454322 Apr 26 '12 at 11:26
Cool, thanks a bunch. – RegDwigнt Apr 26 '12 at 11:30

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Since the adverb "formerly" indicates a prior state, it usually occurs with a past tense verb. Therefore, most likely the correct choice is:

was formerly known as Mustang.

You may be able to construct a context in which is would be preferable, but this would be unusual.

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thanks, I agree with you. Not enough reputation to vote your answer up – user454322 Apr 26 '12 at 11:29
If you agree, you don't need to upvote, since you can accept the answer. – JeffSahol Apr 26 '12 at 11:49

It depends on the function of the note. If the purpose of the note is to tell you about a change that has already happened, "was" is correct. If the purpose of the note is to actually make the change, then "is" is correct. In that case, there's an implied "now" (or "hereby") after "is".

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