Responsibility for Performing Software Maintenance
Software Maintenance tasks are typically performed by the designers of the software to address issues discovered after deployment of the software program. As software developers address the issues found in software programs, it falls to system operators to install the released patches. Most commercially available software programs are regularly updated using downloads available through the developer's online support site. System operators download updates as they are released and install these to ensure continued performance of the software in accordance with the original design parameters.
Maintenance Phase Length
The maintenance phase lasts the longest of all phases of the software life cycle. The primary reason that the maintenance phase last longest is the life of the software. Most software programs remain in operation until they become obsolete due to changes in a user's needs or until the cost of maintaining the software becomes prohibitive to future use of the software. Many designers release newly designed replacement software programs while previous versions of their software continue to undergo maintenance. This can be seen with Microsoft's introduction of the Office 2010 software suite or the introduction of the Windows 7 operating system. Although the newest version of these software programs are commercially available to computer users, the company continues to maintain previous versions of the software and make patches available through Windows Update services for a specified amount of time.