When describing a piece of software on a list I have the following information:


Released: 2013-12-12

????: 2014-12-12

The ???? is like the opposite of Released. Maybe I could use killed (but that is too strong), or no longer supported, but I would prefer a single word.

  • 8
    "obsoleted" might work, depending how much you dislike verbing.
    – The Photon
    Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 22:23
  • 28
    Software features that are no longer supported are deprecated and then removed. The software itself is usually described by whatever state it's actually in: e.g., unsupported if help (support) is no longer available for an old version, or abandoned if the maintainers no longer work on it, etc. Source: Software developer :) Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 23:25
  • 10
    Other words you might enjoy: Abandonware, Sunsetting Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 23:26
  • 5
    @Two-BitAlchemist, "sunsetting" is worthy of getting into an answer, IMO.
    – Jaydles
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 0:13
  • 6
    My answer is below, I'd go with 'Deprecated', as a professional in the field.
    – MDMoore313
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 18:21

12 Answers 12


It depends on your precise meaning, and the intended audience.

It could mean ending:

  • Feature updates

  • Non-security bug fixes

  • Security fixes

  • Customer support / troubleshooting

  • Service, in the case of SaaS (software as a service)

Sometimes there will be different dates for ending each of these.

For a general-use single-word verb to mirror released, I suggest discontinued. That is, releases, support, etc. (whatever it is that you mean) are no longer continuing.

But I would prefer end of life, which though not a single word (unless you count end-of-life or EOL) is a common industry term, and usually denotes an end to updates or fixes. This is, for example, what the operating system Ubuntu uses: "Release date" and "End of life date".

Some other possibilities:

  • abandoned - implies the ending was unplanned

  • deactivated / defunct - accurate if the software is actually no longer functioning

  • decommissioned / retired - might work, though I would use this for when something actually stops being used, as when a particular company, user, or specific system is no longer using it

  • deprecated - describes software as replaced, or not officially recommended. This precedes its complete removal. This term is not widely used outside of software libraries (and software developers).

  • obsolete - not great, as it describes the need or use for the software, not the state of development or support; software can become practically obsolete long before any planned support date

  • sunsetted - a sunset is actually a period of time of limited support, so it doesn't fit a single date as you have requested. This term is frequently used, e.g. Google Reader

  • terminated - good, though if you didn't like killed, this might also be too strong

  • unsupported - good, though not all software is ever "supported" in the way some may think: regular bug fixes, support staff, etc.

  • 19
    I was surprised no one else had mentioned deprecated Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 22:23
  • 4
    I like discontinued the best. Can we put some more emphasis on that word? Italics just doesn't make it stand out. You can put it in a line by itself, I guess.
    – justhalf
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 2:22
  • 3
    @justhalf, I had it bolded, but tchrist edited that out. I'll probably put that back. Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 4:21
  • 8
    Deprecated isn't appropriate, but is worth mentioning. If a feature is deprecated, then its authors no longer approve of its continued use, but do still support it. Quite often this means support will be discontinued in the future, and they recommend people should change to other methods now, in preparation of that, but some things have been deprecated for decades.
    – Jon Hanna
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 9:18
  • 4
    @PaulDraper: He's been doing it on loads of questions lately. Gotta keep up with those "scholarly works". Would be nice if some more thought went into it though. Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 22:25

Deprecated is often used to describe lower-level APIs/function/libraries that should not be used going forward. See wikipedia on software deprecation.

  • 8
    Deprecation refers more to features and programming methods than an end-user product itself. Unsurprising that this has many upvotes since this is a featured question on a site popular among software developers, but in the context of the OP (opposite of "released"), words like "retired" or "end-of-life" fit much better.
    – nmclean
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 14:21
  • @nmclean yes I did mention that its more relevant to lower-level software components or methods. However, I don't believe the original question specified "end-user product" (i.e. collection) or a list of software pieces (e.g. libraries) where I think its valid.
    – badnews
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 21:44
  • 1
    @nmclean An entire software package can get deprecated, see e.g. HAL.
    – Ruslan
    Commented Jun 13, 2014 at 9:23
  • @Ruslan Yes, it is appropriate for HAL. By "programming methods", I do mean entire libraries as well as individual algorithms. The point is that when we are talking about "releases" and "support" (as in OP), we usually refer to end-user applications. "Deprecated" is inappropriate here because it belongs to the domain of programming.
    – nmclean
    Commented Jun 13, 2014 at 13:43
  • 2
    @paqogomez deprecation means that the API is still supported, but that its further use is discouraged with the understanding that the API will be removed in a later version. So I don't really see how this fits the description. Win XP was deprecated (you certainly didn't see anyone at MS telling people to buy XP instead of Win7) very long before it reached end of life. Although I agree with nmclean that it's not something that I'd use to describe whole products to begin with, wrong domain.
    – Voo
    Commented Jun 14, 2014 at 23:07

Use end-of-life; that's standard in the industry, in my experience.

  • "Standard" has a meaning besides that something is common practice. I don't believe there is a formalized, legal definition of end-of-life so the term is not literally an industry standard. Commented Jun 14, 2014 at 2:07
  • Point. Perhaps I should have said that it is "standard in the industry". Commented Jun 14, 2014 at 2:09
  • @Potatoswatter, how about saying: that's the de-facto standard in the industry Commented Jun 15, 2014 at 12:09

I've heard sunset as a more positive sounding alternative to the common end-of-life. Both are pretty common in software engineering terms.

  • I never came across this one, as a seasoned developer. Good to know.
    – nl-x
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 11:01
  • 1
    "Sunset" is a bit vague for a software product. Usually you hear it in relation to laws and rules/regulations. If absolutely nothing more is to be done with a product, enhancement- or support-wise, my preference is withdrawn.
    – Phil Perry
    Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 13:35
  • I've never heard this. The closest I've come is "twilight years" in the context of a greying individual :P Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 22:26
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit: the term “sunset” got a fair bit of media exposure a couple of years back when Yahoo! used it in a slide that was leaked Commented Jun 14, 2014 at 9:54
  • This sounds like meaningless euphemism.
    – daviewales
    Commented Jun 15, 2014 at 9:37

Different people use different things here, so which term below would work best in your specific situation is going to vary depending on your intended use of it.

  • decommissioned
  • uninstalled
  • discontinued
  • deactivated
  • shut down / shut off
  • deleted
  • retired
  • retired from service
  • became unsupported
  • passed its contractual end-of-life cut-off date
  • 2
    I'd argue that "uninstalled", "shut down/off", "deleted", "deactivated" aren't "the opposite of Released", as requested. "Discontinued" is a possibility, as is "retired/retired from service". Your final two seem to hit the mark. Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 20:10
  • 1
    I'm surprised you didn't include deprecated, given that OP said killed off was "too strong". I know it's a lot "weaker" than, say, discontinued, deactivated, but in some contexts it's pretty close to unsupported. Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 20:11
  • 2
    Deprecated is used more for software parts.
    – nl-x
    Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 21:44

The software industry term for obsolescence is deprecate:

  • deprecated
  • deprecation

Whereas, IT management tend to use the term "obsolete*:

  • obsoleted
  • obsolescence

The software industry term for cessation of effectiveness without obsolescence is expiry:

  • expired
  • expiration

The terms can be applied to

  • a whole piece of software or application
  • a software licensing or parts of it
  • features in a software
  • modules in a software or application
  • functions, parts of code, entities, objects, methodology, technique, design, architecture.

A feature, entity, portion of a software, or the version of the software is said to be

  • deprecated/obsolete when it is still in use but has been superseded by a recommended alternative.

  • expired when it is pulled from release and is no longer permitted to be used, or that the software itself has time-bombed itself, a feature, entity, portion of itself from being useful.


  • The licence on the module will be expiring in 30 days.
  • We have planned obsolescence for deployment of Ubuntu 1204 next year.
  • The version released Jan 15 will expire on July 15.
  • We are deprecating all iMac deployments in favour of Linux and Windows 8.
  • When I tried to install the software, a dialog would pop up saying "This release has expired on Apr 30, 2013. Please contact IT support. Your attempt to use expired software on workstation WSBay17 under user name WA5\Gunasekarn has been duly noted."

Software: Skorn Shell's Engels
Version: 0.9.2-snapshot
Release Date: 2010-09-20
Expiry Date: 2015-09-20
Deprecated: 2014-04-12
Deprecated by version: 1.0.1

  • 1
    Deprecated and obsolete aren't entirely synonymous. Obsolete means that it is antiquated and that there is a preferred modern alternative. Deprecated means that it is suggested you seek a more up to date method but acknowledges that certain situations will still make use of the technology that is on its way out. To Simplify: Obsolete means it's been replaced, Deprecated means it's on its way out. Commented Jun 13, 2014 at 17:14
  • When you go to a management meeting with no programmers - you never would use the term "deprecated", otherwise "huh"s all around. You have to use "obsolescence". Because in management lingo, "obsolescence" is a system that is still running but they badly wish to retire because has been superseded, but unfortunately still has some loose shoe laces tied elsewhere. Commented Jun 15, 2014 at 5:09

Also consider:
defunct, “No longer in use, inactive” (plus some other related senses),
obsolete, “No longer in use; gone into disuse; disused or neglected”
withdrawn, ie taken back, taken out of use


Abandoned (mostly open source) and end-of-life (EOL) (mostly commercial) are most used.

The software/system development lifecycle (SLDC) calls it disposition on some sheets I have seen.


The problem is that the end of software is not as distinct as it's start. On a legacy device old software might run just fine long after the developers have moved on and forgotten about it. The exact end of the software's life (or life cycle) depends largely on the attitudes of the person naming the software's demise.

The choice of word(s) reflects a great deal on the attitude of the community, the developer and the model of deployment. For example a commercial software company might talk of "end of production" as if it were a physical product (which if sold mainly on CD/DVD it might seem to be) whereas a company that makes more money from support talks about the "end of life" or "end of support" time frame.

Thus there are terms that talk about ongoing support and bugfixes, ongoing development (beyond just bugfixes) and just general appropriateness for any given task. Which is why you get a range of answers from withdrawn (no longer offered as a product) to Obsolete (something better exists, like an upgrade or a better solution).

When the software is still available but it has reach "End of Life" (de facto term) where I have worked we often call it "Retired" which means that you can use it if you want but we accept no bug reports and you do so at your own risk. Sometimes it's "Retired / Replaced with" sometimes written as "Retired/Obsolete. Upgrade to NewSoftwareTitle". However that suggests that there is an upgrade path albeit a nonstandard one.

Some firms are fond of "End of Support" or variants like that. In which case "Superseded by" is commonly given if there is something else.

The open source community sometimes lists software as "abandoned" which means that there is no one maintaining it anymore. Or if the developer is taking their time to put anything out - it might be described as "inactive" which can be effectively the same thing. This however indicates something entirely different to software that has been shelved or withdrawn which suggests more that the developers are the ones calling the shots, so to speak.


If you're looking for slang, I'd go with either

  • Betamaxed


  • XP'd

Two now obsolete technologies, although technically betamaxed can mean

When a technology is overtaken in the market by inferior but better marketed competition.

Runners up include

  • Defunct

  • Deprecated

  • 86'd

  • I like Betamaxed Good option. :)
    – crthompson
    Commented Jun 13, 2014 at 18:37

I would use terminated as in terminator. :)


Technically, the product is not dead, just not supported/active, and for that reason "floruit' applies floruit because it refers to the active years:

... a period of time during which a person, school, movement or even species was active or flourishing. It is the third person, singular, perfect tense, indicative, active form of the Latin verb "florere" — "to flourish".

The term for its lack of support is

Abandonware is a product, typically software, ignored by its owner and manufacturer, and for which no product support is available. Although such software is usually still under copyright, the owner may not be tracking or enforcing copyright violations. Abandonware is a variant of the general concept of orphan works.


Legacy code is source code that relates to a no-longer supported

Note: Microsoft Lifecycle Policy refers to Windows 95 (an unsupported product) as "obsolete" or support retired -see link for chart of 'Desktop operating systems/Date of availability/Support retired' dating format

  • 3
    I don't think one generally refers to a software product as "flourishing". Not a bad answer but I don't think it relates to this particular field of endeavor. Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 21:55
  • @MattGutting, despite buzzwords like 'software archaeology', data is never dead, programs are adapted,changed,open-sourced, copyright restricted...they are a true zombie
    – Third News
    Commented Jun 11, 2014 at 23:29
  • Then it's settled... the software has been zombified!
    – Phil Perry
    Commented Jun 13, 2014 at 13:59
  • Abandonware has a very specific meaning, and it's NOT just end of support. It means the product has been released to the public, without support, and typically without the source, effectively releasing the product into the public domain, the creator abandoning all rights to it.
    – jwenting
    Commented Jun 13, 2014 at 14:31
  • Ditto legacy code is NOT what is meant here. Legacy code is code that's old, usually nobody around any more who has experience with how it works, but is still part of existing systems so it has to be maintained. It's definitely NOT unmaintained, unsupported, code. It's just a maintenance PITA.
    – jwenting
    Commented Jun 13, 2014 at 14:33

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