List of projects requiring 5.2 or greater

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Sam Keen

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Sep 28, 2010, 7:32:55 PM9/28/10
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This is what I was looking for last week :)

http://www.gophp5.org/

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Grant Kruger

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Sep 28, 2010, 8:09:14 PM9/28/10
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Currently it's just for 5.2, not 5.3. Time for you to wake them from their slumber and get them to change focus to 5.3? ;)

As an aside, I notice that the site is a Drupal site and those bringing it to you seem to have included a host of Drupal notables, including Dries, Drupal's original creator and project lead. Other represented projects include Joomla! and phpMyAdmin. Fascinating.

Best,
Grant


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Michael Prasuhn

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Sep 28, 2010, 10:25:28 PM9/28/10
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Hrm, I almost mentioned that, but I didn't know that was what you were looking for. I can put you in touch with the folks that started gophp5.org and the I also know the guy that has gophp6.org, but I have no idea who nabbed gophp53.org :(

-Mike
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Sam Keen

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Sep 29, 2010, 12:36:04 AM9/29/10
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I guess I have compromised to "Just get rid of PHP4 support in your framework/CMS".

I'm a realist :) 
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Sam Keen

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Sep 29, 2010, 12:46:54 AM9/29/10
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yeah, I hadn't heard of these .org until today,  good to know they are out there.  Feel free to pass on my info.  I don't really have anything specific in mind, but would be good to talk to them.

cheers,
sam

Andrew Kreps

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Sep 29, 2010, 12:53:26 AM9/29/10
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Time to register gophp5dot3dot3.org?

Brandon Savage

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Sep 29, 2010, 8:35:02 AM9/29/10
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Honestly with the length of time PHP 5 has been out, I'm not surprised to see most projects moving towards it. The problem I have is the holdovers who absolutely refuse, like Wordpress up until recently. Most projects that refused to support PHP 5 ultimately have been replaced with proejcts that do; it's the large ones like Wordpress that are of deep concern to the community because they hold back PHP from further growth.

FWIW, requiring PHP 5 isn't a difficult thing to enforce; projects that use json_encode() are PHP 5.2.x or greater. My understanding is that Wordpress wrote their OWN JSON parser to avoid having to make people upgrade to PHP 5.2; that's just asinine.

Brandon

Alan Storm

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Sep 29, 2010, 11:47:16 AM9/29/10
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On Sep 29, 2010, at 5:35 AM, Brandon Savage wrote:
> FWIW, requiring PHP 5 isn't a difficult thing to enforce;
> projects that use json_encode() are PHP 5.2.x or greater. My
> understanding is that Wordpress wrote their OWN JSON parser
> to avoid having to make people upgrade to PHP 5.2; that's
> just asinine.

Why is it asinine? Wordpress had users on PHP 4, PHP 4 hadn't reached
end of life yet, so Wordpress made sure that those users were
supported while still moving the platform forward.

It's **frustrating** to be a developer stuck supporting a PHP 4
application, but products supporting existing users isn't asinine,
it's smart platform management.

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Alan Storm
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Andrew Embler

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Sep 29, 2010, 11:52:18 AM9/29/10
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I agree with Alan. Our CMS is PHP5-only, but we implemented a
JSON-compatibility layer for versions prior to 5.2, simply so that we
didn't preclude people from using our product. This is a little
unnecessary now, since concrete5 uses components of the Zend Framework
(which now requires PHP 5.2.4 or later) but we still strive to support
PHP 5.1 and above to drive adoption, even if we only actively test on
PHP 5.2.x and greater.

best,
Andrew

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Brandon Savage

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Sep 29, 2010, 11:56:54 AM9/29/10
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Why is it asinine?  Wordpress had users on PHP 4, PHP 4 hadn't reached
end of life yet, so Wordpress made sure that those users were
supported while still moving the platform forward.

 
PHP officially ended support for the 4.4 branch on August 8th, 2008. That means we are now TWO years past end of life. The current system requirements for Wordpress, two years later?

PHP 4.3 (which actually had EOL before 4.4) and MySQL 4.1.2.

Supporting the PHP 4 users wasn't asinine until PHP 4 went end of life. To CONTINUE supporting it is what is asinine.

Alan Storm

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Sep 29, 2010, 12:24:17 PM9/29/10
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On Sep 29, 8:56 am, Brandon Savage <bran...@brandonsavage.net> wrote:
> Supporting the PHP 4 users wasn't asinine until PHP 4 went
> end of life. To CONTINUE supporting it is what is asinine.

That's impressive, I didn't realize Wordpress was **currently**
supporting PHP 4.3.

Still though, decisions that seem "asinine" from the outside look
differently when you shift your perspective. It's still smart
platform management by Wordpress. Anytime you force a user to upgrade
an underlying piece of system software you're giving them an
opportunity to consider other packages. The blog-engine/cms/agency-
implementation-platform field has always been pretty crowded, with a
lot of modern solutions that are clearly superior. By putting for an
extra effort to maintain PHP 4.3 compatibility, Wordpress is letting
their user's intertia keep them on the platform.

Irritating if you don't like working with PHP 4 and you're stuck in a
grunt job, but hardly foolish if you're trying to create the kind of
gigantic platform that'll let you broker deals like the Microsoft/
Spaces migration.

Why do you think it's foolish for Wordpress to do this? (not trying to
start some asshole internet flame war. I'm just curious and trying to
avoid starting on The Work™ this morning)

franz maruna

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Sep 29, 2010, 1:08:32 PM9/29/10
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Alan's right.

Wordpress has over 50 million blogs, and VC daddies with 44m+ invested
in them. It's all well and good to want to keep using the latest and
greatest, who in their right mind is going to say: "lets dump more
than half of our audience because their webhosts are slow to upgrade."

Don't get me wrong, as a software provider I very much want our
customers to upgrade when we have a new version, and with that hat on
I can totally recognize the "we only support recent versions" approach
of companies like Apple. concrete5 does basically require php5.2. But
we've got 70k sites not 50m and we've always required php 5+ so
telling people 5.1 won't cut it isn't a particularly difficult thing
to say...

As a software consumer, I only upgrade when I have some pressing need.
"If it ain't broke..."

The truth is surely somewhere in the middle, but there's a difference
between leading edge and bleeding edge and using the latest just
because it exists is a dubious strategy if it means you're losing
potential customers. I think using the most widely adopted version of
something is a pretty solid plan.

best wishes

Franz Maruna
CEO - concrete5.org

Chris Forrette

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Sep 29, 2010, 2:30:03 PM9/29/10
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Totally in agreement with Alan as well. We actually are running Wordpress in a PHP 4 environment for a Proctor & Gamble site where we don't have much say in what the server stack looks like, and we also have a couple of clients whose sysadmins are extremely conservative and simply refuse to migrate away from PHP 4 because it's what they know and trust and don't want to go through the hassle of upgrading all of their servers.

This reminds me of the whole "to support or not to support IE6" question (though nothing quite compares to the absolute horror that is IE6) and the main drag in trying to move forward are the larger companies where it's just ingrained in their systems and difficult to upgrade on such a large scale. As developers it would be fun and convenient to turn our backs on the old stuff but we're running along with countless other websites, servers, businesses, etc., so I personally feel it's best to be flexible, know the old and the new, and, for the sake of a paycheck, be comfortable living somewhere in between the bleeding edge and, well, PHP4.

Chris Forrette
http://www.chrisforrette.com

Grant Kruger

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Sep 29, 2010, 2:44:21 PM9/29/10
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What a great discussion. I love all the places this thread has gone. I think it highlights how the perspectives of coders differ widely from the perspectives of those with an entrenched product. It certainly has repercussions for the future of these and other products, potentially much like IE6 held back advances on the web for so long. Or maybe not so much. We do seem to find endless ways around problems and, surprisingly, the "best technical solution" does not really seem to have a very good track record.

I know a lot of techies in CMS-land who picked what they thought was the best technical solution. Many are scathing in their comments about Wordpress. Apparently the code and architecture underneath is something of a mess. But I always remind them that, 1) someone always thinks there is a better technical solution than the one you think is best... and you may both be right, for different reasons. And 2) being a purist is not remotely equivalent to being productive or successful, though we might wish it were otherwise.

Many purists prefer Python to PHP and therefore pick Plone over Joomla!, Drupal or other PHP CMS. In fact, PHP is the language many purists love to hate. Here's the thing, Plone has been largely overrun by PHP CMS, and I'd argue that the primary reason for that is PHP itself. PHP is everywhere and this helps any project written in PHP. It's not a coincidence that most of the more successful CMS are written in PHP and why so many new projects pick PHP, even if they hate PHP. It means more coders, more places your product can be hosted and as a result, bigger development communities.

Even if you happen to believe that a PHP CMS, for example Drupal, is the purist's choice, the point about purists still stands. Much of the buzz in the CMS world has surrounded Drupal of late and they're winning the awards right now. Last I heard, Drupal has over 1% of all the sites on the web, which is a very big deal. But guess what? That technically flawed blogging tool some are so scornful of, that Wordpress thing, has over 8% of the web, has lowered the bar and made getting onto the web easy (for anyone, not just techies), has pioneered CMS usability and UX, has led the way on both hosted and self-hosted solutions, and have led the way in the smaller site arena... which as it turns out is most of the web.

By focusing on the user and not the coder, Wordpress changed the way many other CMS do things by being the ones to set the bar in some arenas. And from a user perspective, it's easy and it works very well indeed. They have challenges ahead in becoming a more powerful CMS, but in many ways Wordpress is the model to follow.

So yes, technical purism is a wonderful thing and all, but it has not proved to be the path to success thus far.

Best,
Grant

franz maruna

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Sep 29, 2010, 2:54:42 PM9/29/10
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Well put.
My Mom can goto Wordpress.com and get a website out of it. Is it a
great website that can be extended to meet her needs for the next 5
years? Probably not. But it works - and that's really not to be
underestimated. While the inner geek in me is perfectly willing to get
all snarky about best practices, the guy who gets asked "how should I
build my website?" by all sorts of non-programmers would love to have
an answer that doesn't leave people confused and intimidated.

<plug> thats the hole we're trying to fill with concrete5 - something
that doesn't take a CS background to setup and get working, but also
doesn't create crap code and can be extended in a graceful way if you
know what you're doing </plug>

best wishes

Franz Maruna
CEO - concrete5.org

Tony Freixas

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Sep 29, 2010, 3:20:52 PM9/29/10
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I don't know if it's foolish or smart, but there's a chicken-and-egg problem here.

Some hosting services will update only when there is pressure to do so. Some developers will restrict themselves to an older platform just because not all hosting services support the newer stuff.

By supporting PHP4, WordPress perpetuates PHP5. Make WordPress require PHP 5 and the hosting services will upgrade.

--
Tony Freixas


On 09/29/10 9:24 AM, Alan Storm wrote:
On Sep 29, 8:56�am, Brandon Savage <bran...@brandonsavage.net> wrote:
Supporting the PHP 4 users wasn't asinine until PHP 4 went
end of life. To CONTINUE supporting it is what is asinine.
Why do you think it's foolish for Wordpress to do this? (not trying to
start some asshole internet flame war. I'm just curious and trying to
avoid starting on The Work� this morning)

--
Alan Storm
http://alanstorm.com

Andrew Embler

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Sep 29, 2010, 3:27:23 PM9/29/10
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I know nothing about Wordpress's development, but I imagine that they
probably were going to support PHP5 only with Wordpress version 3, and
then something forced them to abandon this strategy. That's pure
speculation on my part, however the length of time between 2 and 3,
and the major version number change implies it.

Regardless, looks like PHP5 proponents will get their wish sooner
rather than later:
http://news.softpedia.com/news/WordPress-3-2-to-Drop-Support-for-PHP-4-and-MySQL-4-149109.shtml

best,
Andrew

On Wed, Sep 29, 2010 at 12:20 PM, Tony Freixas <tfre...@gmail.com> wrote:
> I don't know if it's foolish or smart, but there's a chicken-and-egg problem
> here.
>
> Some hosting services will update only when there is pressure to do so. Some
> developers will restrict themselves to an older platform just because not
> all hosting services support the newer stuff.
>
> By supporting PHP4, WordPress perpetuates PHP5. Make WordPress require PHP 5
> and the hosting services will upgrade.
>
> --
> Tony Freixas
> tfre...@gmail.com
>
> On 09/29/10 9:24 AM, Alan Storm wrote:
>

> On Sep 29, 8:56 am, Brandon Savage <bran...@brandonsavage.net> wrote:
>
> Supporting the PHP 4 users wasn't asinine until PHP 4 went
> end of life. To CONTINUE supporting it is what is asinine.
>
> Why do you think it's foolish for Wordpress to do this? (not trying to
> start some asshole internet flame war. I'm just curious and trying to

> avoid starting on The Work™ this morning)


>
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> Alan Storm
> http://alanstorm.com
>

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Andrew Nacin

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Sep 29, 2010, 5:05:37 PM9/29/10
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Hi all,

I'm one of the WordPress core developers. Someone forwarded me this
thread, and I wanted to weigh in on our thoughts and strategies. I'm
quoting variously from previous emails below.

> The problem I have is the holdovers who absolutely refuse, like Wordpress up
> until recently. Most projects that refused to support PHP 5 ultimately have
> been replaced with proejcts that do; it's the large ones like Wordpress that
> are of deep concern to the community because they hold back PHP from further
> growth.

See, that's not true at all. We're not refusing to adopt PHP4. Hosts
are. MediaTemple, for example, is still PHP4 by default on their grid
service. That's insane, and we don't like it at all, but there's only
so much we can do about it. (That said, hat tip to Dreamhost, because
they shut down PHP4 the moment it went EOL, and a few months ago
pushed every remaining PHP4 account to PHP5.)

A year ago, more than a few million blogs were still being powered by
PHP4. We refused three years ago (when the GoPHP5 movement started) to
make a political statement by pushing a product that had less than 20%
adoption. About a year ago, we publicly stated to our community that
when PHP4 usage dropped below 10% of active blogs, we would abandon
it. But we refuse to abandon our users.

> My understanding is that Wordpress wrote their OWN JSON parser to avoid
> having to make people upgrade to PHP 5.2; that's just asinine.

> By putting for an extra effort to maintain PHP 4.3 compatibility, Wordpress
> is letting their user's intertia keep them on the platform.

I'll address both of these at once. As said previously, we refuse to
make a political statement and abandon our lowest common denominator
for our users. Less than 4% of WordPress installs are running
critically insecure versions (ref: Qualys BlindElephant) while Drupal
is at 79% precisely because WordPress is so easy to use and so easy to
update. If we drop PHP4 too early, users just won't upgrade. That's
bad for everyone. End users do not care what version of PHP they are
running, period.

We do *not* put in extra effort to maintain PHP 4.3 compatibility. The
last bug we had related to PHP 4 compatibility was a bug in both core
PHP 4.4.0 and PHP 5.0.5. The only effort is to ensure syntax is
proper. With regards to feature development, if we have to go out of
our way to support PHP 4, *we don't bother* and instead offer the
feature as a progressive enhancement for PHP 5.

Case in point, when we implemented oEmbed in WordPress 2.9, we had to
make a choice. We request that the oEmbed provider returns JSON, but
they may also return XML. At the time, a quarter of sites (give or
take) still weren't running at least PHP 5.2.0, which included both
JSON and SimpleXML.

So, here's what we did. We included the official Services_JSON PEAR
library, which allowed us to implement JSON for < 5.2. We did not
write our own parser. (That would indeed be asinine.) But importantly,
if we're given XML and we don't have SimpleXML, we don't bother and
return false.

Another example is timezone support. We use the PHP DateTime library
if available. If not, then they have to handle their own settings,
timezone offsets, DST adjustments, and such. We don't make an attempt
for PHP4. These are but two examples of the progressive enhancement.

> Wordpress has over 50 million blogs, and VC daddies with 44m+ invested
> in them. It's all well and good to want to keep using the latest and
> greatest, who in their right mind is going to say: "lets dump more
> than half of our audience because their webhosts are slow to upgrade."

The second part is very true, though it's not more than half anymore.
I do want to point out, however, that in the first part you are
referring to Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com (the hosted
service). They do invest heavily (in terms of time, servers, etc.) in
the open source project, which is WordPress.org. But half of the core
team does not work for Automattic (including myself), and three of
those that do, are 70-100% dedicated to the project, not to for profit
Automattic work.

> Apparently the code and architecture underneath is something of a mess.

Well, I disagree, but that's alright. It certainly has a different
coding style than other frameworks and systems like Zend Framework,
CakePHP, Drupal, etc., but it works quite well, don't you think?

> By supporting PHP4, WordPress perpetuates PHP5 [sic, I assume you mean PHP4].
> Make WordPress require PHP 5 and the hosting services will upgrade.

It comes down to making political statements. No, it won't, not
historically. It will now, because WordPress is becoming more and more
ubiquitous, and there are few hosts that only have PHP4. Most just
need to flip the default now to 5. The GoPHP5 movement didn't do
anything beyond being before its time, and being before ones time
isn't always a good thing. More on that in a moment.

> I know nothing about Wordpress's development, but I imagine that they
> probably were going to support PHP5 only with Wordpress version 3, and
> then something forced them to abandon this strategy. That's pure
> speculation on my part, however the length of time between 2 and 3,
> and the major version number change implies it.

We increment version numbers on a simple base 10 decimal system. 2.8,
2.9, 3.0, 3.1. All major versions. (Our minor maintenance releases are
2.9.1, 2.9.2, 3.0.1, etc.) About a year ago, we made a determination
that when usage of PHP4 dropped to 10%, we will drop PHP4 support.
Keep in mind that 10% is still a few million users for us, which is
not an easy thing to do.

We looked at the statistics in July and noticed that our 5.2+ usage
was at about 88%. The PHP4 number is below 10%, though not by much as
PHP 5.0 and 5.1 doesn't have much in terms of share. (Thankfully, as
they're pretty weak.) About a week later, we announced that we were
dropping support for PHP4 and MySQL4 with WordPress 3.2, which will be
released sometime in the second quarter of 2011. (Yay.)

Let's study that a bit further for a moment, and see how other
projects are handling this. We have more users on PHP 4 than we have
on PHP 5.3. Yet, the day before we announced our minimum version bump
(which we decided in our public developers meeting the week before),
PHP released 5.2.14 and announced they were stopping maintenance for
PHP 5.2, and only on security. You should have heard Marco Tabini of
PHP Architect call the core PHP guys being out of touch for that
decision, when he spoke at WordCamp Mid-Atlantic a few weeks ago. It's
yanking the rug out from under everyone just as it is finally
ubiquitous, and he let his opinion known. If you're going to fault the
applications, you need to fault core PHP as much as the hosting
companies. (See Matt's post, linked below.)

Meanwhile, only about 3% of WordPress sites are on PHP 5.3. Suddenly
more users are going to be on PHP 5.2, and it's going to strain it
further. It isn't just us, either. Drupal and Joomla, even though both
were part of the GoPHP5 movement *three years ago*, are only now
dropping PHP4, too. Hypocritical to attack us, but it happens anyway.

Dries announced in 2007 in response to GoPHP5 (which was born on the
Drupal mailing list) that Drupal 7 would be PHP 5.2. It apparently
made everyone complicit, but Drupal 7 still isn't out yet. Meanwhile,
WordPress waits and tries to react to market usage instead of making a
political statement with an arbitrary line in the sand, and we
hypocritically get laughed at. Also, Joomla 1.6, still in beta, is
also the first release of theirs to drop PHP 4. They're going to 5.2
(I've seen reports of 5.2.4).

A note, we also followed both Drupal 7 and Joomla 1.6 to jump to MySQL
5.0.x, again deserting 11% of our users. Point is, we're simply taking
a different approach yet we end up in the exact same boat, same
result, same timeline.

With that, I'll also reference this post I made on my blog just before
we officially announced we were going to PHP5. It further explains
some of the history and our philosophies here, why testing coverage is
our driving factor, and the like. http://andrewnacin.com/2010/07/09/on-php/.
You should also read Matt's post from three years ago, http://ma.tt/2007/07/on-php/.
The comments on both posts are particularly informative.

Thanks for your time. It's been fun, and I'm sorry if it was tl;dr.

Andrew Nacin
Core Developer
WordPress.org

Andrew Embler

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Sep 29, 2010, 5:58:41 PM9/29/10
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> We increment version numbers on a simple base 10 decimal system. 2.8,
> 2.9, 3.0, 3.1. All major versions. (Our minor maintenance releases are
> 2.9.1, 2.9.2, 3.0.1, etc.)

Interesting. I (obviously) did not know that. Had blithely assumed
that going from 2.9 => 3.0 would be more of a fundamental architecture
change than going from 2.8 to 2.9.

Probably best not to assume anything regarding version numbers, of
course; we've had challenges in that area, since we are committed to
keeping our main version number as part of our name. Much like OS X,
this leads to all sorts of confusion when trying to convince someone
that what they think is a point release update (5.3 to 5.4) is
actually a major version upgrade.

Thanks for your time and the post.

best,
Andrew

gregjor

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Sep 29, 2010, 7:24:44 PM9/29/10
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FWIW, Ubuntu 8.0.4 LTS has PHP 5.2.4 in the official repositories.
10.04.1 LTS (just recently released) offers PHP 5.3.2. I haven't
checked but I'll bet that the other major Linux server distros with
stable long-term versions are a version or two behind with PHP (and
everything else). This is usually a GOOD thing for businesses that
care more about keeping things stable and predictable than being on
the technology leading edge.

Of course installing the most recent PHP from unofficial repositories
or source will work, but once you go down that path you lose the
benefits of a stable supported OS release.

There is a LOT of legacy PHP 4 code running out there. Shrewd
programmers will see that enormous code base as an opportunity.

Greg Jorgensen
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