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UDS is part of the Forte development tool Sun acquired in 1999. It used a fourth-generation programming language (4GL), which was a popular approach to software development during the 1990s.
One of the attractions of a 4GL was that it generated source code automatically, based on the design created with the tool. Users now prefer automatic code generation based on standard programming languages (also known as third-generation languages) such as C and Java.
As a consequence, Sun has set out a roadmap to end support for Forte by 2009 and migrate users onto a Java-based development platform.
Responding to an advice note from analyst firm Gartner, Sun confirmed to Computer Weekly that existing users of Forte would have to pay more if they wanted to use the code, even though it is being phased out.
Gartner said Sun had promised companies in the US a 15% credit towards the cost of professional services to help them migrate from UDS to Java, but as yet there have been no details of how UK users will be compensated.
Users running Forte are likely to face an increase in support costs, a Sun spokesman said. "As mentioned in the report from Gartner, maintenance will increase to maintain an adequate support infrastructure for the life of the product and to fund migration assistance."
Although details of the migration for Forte users have yet to be revealed, Sun confirmed that after September 2006 UDS will continue to support Windows, Sun Solaris servers and Oracle databases. Support for these will end in April 2009.