I thought that Open Source was friendly; not a facilitator for a
proprietary business case.
Well, sometimes allowing contributors to make money from their work is actually one way to try being friendly.
But indeed, if one wants to do that work for free, that's even friendlier.
My understanding of the disciplined deprecation was that two major
releases were required after an announcement, but since e6 is impossibly
distant the platform has taken to breakage in minor versions.
Nonetheless I would expect two releases on the yearly cadence so
breakage within 18 months seems very wrong and to merit a regression fix.
Deprecation announced in September 2021 (4.21)
Removal in January 2022 for upcoming 4.23, 2 major releases later
Breakage found January 2023 on 4.26, 3 major releases later
Ultimately, there is a clear law of software development: unmaintained software that no-one builds or updates against newer version of its dependencies will die; only software that someone maintains actively survives. It's not a matter of process here, but a matter of interest in maintaining it. If some money can be found to boost interest from someone in maintaining here, then we all win.