February 5, 2008: Success!
Congratulations are in order. Since the launch of GoPHP5.org, over 100 software projects and over 200 web hosts have come on board to support the adoption of PHP 5.2. As opposed to just a few months ago, it is now easy to find a hosting solution that supports PHP 5, and software developers can turn to the attractive new features that PHP 5 offers without the need to worry that they are leaving their end users without options.
Many thanks to Larry Garfield and Marc Delisle for their vision and hard work. Without them this site would have never materialized. Many thanks to the projects and hosts who made the decision to join us.
While we're now very accustomed to cooperating and collaborating at the level of an OSS project, we don't yet have a lot of experience collaborating at a pan-industry level. GoPHP5 has shown that we can work and think at a broader level of collaboration, involving language builders, software engineers and hosting providers in large decisions that affect us all. Hopefully, when the need arises, others will turn to GoPHP5 as an example of what can be done when a disparate group of people with interrelated interests sits down and builds agreement.
February 5, 2008
PHP 4 has served the web developer community for seven years now, and served it well. However, it also shows its age. Most of PHP 4's shortcomings have been addressed by PHP 5, released three years ago, but the transition from PHP 4 to PHP 5 has been slow for a number of reasons.
PHP developers cannot leverage PHP 5's full potential without dropping support for PHP 4, but PHP 4 is still installed on a majority of shared web hosts and users would then be forced to switch to a different application. Web hosts cannot upgrade their servers to PHP 5 without making it impossible for their users to run PHP 4-targeted web apps, and have no incentive to go to the effort of testing and deploying PHP 5 while most web apps are still compatible with PHP 4 and the PHP development team still provides maintenance support for PHP 4. The PHP development team, of course, can't drop maintenance support for PHP 4 while most web hosts still run PHP 4.
It is a dangerous cycle, and one that needs to be broken. The PHP developer community has decided that it is indeed now time to move forward, together. Therefore, the listed software projects have all agreed that effective February 5th, 2008, any new feature releases will have a minimum version requirement of at least PHP 5.2.0. Furthermore, the listed web hosts have agreed that effective February 5th, 2008, they will include PHP 5.2 (or a more recent version) in their service offer.
It is our belief that this will provide web hosts reason to upgrade and the PHP development team the ability to retire PHP 4 and focus efforts on PHP 5 and the forthcoming PHP 6, all without penalizing any existing project for being "first out of the gate".