No More Service Packs for Windows 2000

I just read the official announcement concerning Windows 2000 SP5, or the lack thereof. I'm wondering about the "many customers" who told Microsoft they would prefer to leave Win2000 on SP4 until 2010, which is when support officially retires. Seriously--this is how long Win2000 will be in circulation given Microsoft's extended support lifecycle.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the announcement FAQ:

"Because every update to Windows introduces the possibility of system instability at the customer's site (for example, an update to one part of the system causes some other part of the system--or an application--to fail), an Update Rollup will provide the maximum utility at the minimum risk of instability at this point in the Windows 2000 life-cycle."
**JC** Wait until the Linux zealots get a hold of this quote. Classic!

Q. Is this the first time Microsoft has done a rollup instead of a service pack?
A. No. Microsoft has done update rollups before. For information on previous rollups, visit the following links:

a. Windows NT 4.0 Post-Service Pack 6a Security Rollup Package
b. Windows 2000 Security Rollup Package 1 (SRP1)
c. Windows XP Update Rollup 1
**JC** Nice--we're comparing the forthcoming Windows 2000 rollup to these other earth shattering releases. I could understand if this was 2008 and we were discussing the end of Windows 2000 service packs. However, the last time I checked the calendar is just about to roll to 2005.

"Windows 2000 systems with SP4 deployed will be 'up to date' from a life-cycle policy perspective until the end of life (EOL) date of Windows 2000. The EOL date will be no sooner than January 1, 2010."
**JC** Again, where is the logic in this?

I can understand that Microsoft wants to move their "Sustained Engineering" resources onward and upward--but I believe this decision will rub a lot of customers the wrong way. Many customers I work with (mid-market, 1000-10,000 desktops) are planning to maintain their Windows 2000 Servers (mostly application servers) for quite some time. Granted, I see excellent momentum behind Windows 2003, especially for Active Directory domain controllers and Microsoft Exchange servers, just to name a few. However, I also know many customers who only recently migrated off NT 4.0 (which released in 1996).

Please don't think this is a Microsoft-bashing post, but instead just the honest opinion of someone who works in the trenches with techs and IT Managers on a daily basis. I can't think of one of them who would have said to Microsoft, "Sure, don't release any more service packs for Windows 2000".