The Frontier Guide contains instructions on how to create a Greeter contract. Those instructions contain details about how to kill a contract, and why we'd want to do that. Part of those instructions read:

If you don't add any kill clause it could potentially live forever (or at least until the frontier contracts are all wiped) independently of you and any earthly borders, so before you put it live check what your local laws say about it....

I'm assuming this isn't going to be the case, and the instructions just need to be updated (right?), but was this actually the original plan, and if so, why? And how would this have been achieved without destroying non-contract data? (i.e. transaction/account details).

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You're correct, this is no longer the case:

Many of the planned Frontier gotchas (which included a chain reset at Homestead, limiting mining rewards to 10%, and centralized checkpointing) were deemed unnecessary. source

I'm not exactly sure why they thought this was necessary, but I think the idea was that if major changes to the EVM needed to be implemented, old contracts would break and should be wiped to start from scratch.

A similar method could be used to transfer balances as was used to distribute presale Ether. The new network's genesis block would simply include all of the non-zero account balances from the old chain.

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