How did Python version EOL work in ye olden times?

I know of course that Python 2.7 was sunset on January 1 2020; and PEP 361 tells me that the last release of 2.6 was on October 29 2013 and that “all official support for Python 2.6 has ended” with that release - a fact reproduced on the site I usually check for reference.

But what actually happened with older versions of Python than that? I can see in the release history when the last patch version was actually released for a given minor version; but I can’t find evidence of it ever being announced that “support had ended” for such a version, that it was “no longer being maintained” or any other wording to that effect. For example, the corresponding PEPs for Python 2.5 and 2.4 didn’t even get updated with patch release dates, never mind any EOL announcement.

Back then, was there some other way that people were expected to find out that there wouldn’t be any more support offered for a given Python minor version? And as regards 2.6, it seems strange to me that support would drop along with a patch release, i.e. that releasing a patch would be the last support/maintenance action for a given branch (implying users of that patch release are on their own completely). Certainly I don’t expect, for example, that a patch for 3.8 will be released on Oct 31 (the currently scheduled EOL date). It didn’t work that way for previous 3.x releases, either.

(Finally: I notice that the release of 2.7.18 was delayed to April of 2020 even though code was frozen on Jan 1. Was that COVID-related or did something else happen? It seems unusually long given the usual frequency of patch releases, multiplied across multiple minor versions being maintained in parallel.)

The earliest clear reference I can find to an explicit end-of-life policy is in this commit: Add a document discussing the development cycle typically followed for · python/devguide@61f23b7 · GitHub

I also found this thread interesting: Mailman 3 Draft PEP: Maintenance of Python Releases - Python-Dev -

I believe EOL was announced on the former pydev list, and possibly also on python list and python-announce. This was possibly included in the announcement of the last patch. We were less organized 2 decades ago.