[development] Go PHP 5, Go!

Jonathan Lambert j at firebright.com
Wed Jun 6 16:12:25 UTC 2007

On Jun 6, 2007, at 7:45 AM, Robert Douglass wrote:

> Sean Robertson wrote:
>> Why can't ISPs upgrade without breaking older apps?
> They can, and we want them to. They're just lazy, afaik.

Indeed, if I might interject a point here to support this idea.

While it probably is lazyness to some degree, what I've found to be  
true with the vast major of hosting companies is that they are  
running off of the stock Control Panel applications, and many of them  
are running on SW-Soft's products (Plesk and Virtuozzo).  As a former  
Gold customer (recovering, we're now using mostly XEN, VMWARE, and  
some other higher end systems for everything), I know that the  
support policy for SW-Soft with regards to PHP is the OS Support  
Upgrade Policy (that's what they called it, I've never seen it  
actually).  They will provide support for only whatever the vendor  
has released on the platform, including any extended applications  
like PHP and MySQL.

For hosting companies with any kind of integrated system, or those in  
need of second tier support from SW-Soft, doing an upgrade can  
invalidate their support agreements (you're always riding the line on  
this one if you need "advanced upgrades," aka something that's  
relatively new) and break their setups.  In fact, doing an upgrade  
with SW-Soft's popular HSP Complete system of php or mysql will  
almost certainly functionally break the entire control panel.  In  
addition, it's extremely difficult to do a full OS upgrade with many  
contol panel solutions, as they're using a lot of custom rpms and the  
like, so things tend to stay in place and get patched.  For example,  
with HSP Complete (again, just an example), it's not actually  
possible to do an upgrade - you have to delete the customer virtuozzo  
environment and re-create it since it tracks rpms granularly.

So, we're moving at the speed of RedHat.  Actually, most times,  
RedHat running through CentOS.  And since so many of the upgrades are  
actually attached to the OS Upgrades, and since it's difficult to do  
an OS Upgrade, things tend to stagnate across the entire industry.

Occasionally some brave sysadmin will stand up and start releasing  
packages.  For big hosting customers with a lot of purchase power  
(think GoDaddy, 1&1, BlueHost, etc), this is absolutely an option.   
But for the long tail, obstacles remain.  But most big companies will  
only patch when they have to, and leave the support up to companies  
like SW-Soft.

So, it's not as much the hosting companies that need convincing -  
it's the vendors that write the Control Panels that have the real  
authority - they're the ones that need convincing.  And I don't think  
they're planning to fix some of the upgrade os problems anytime soon  
(just ask me the difference between an insert and overlay control  
panel - my own terms - sometime).

I think it would be worth rallying around the flag on this one, and  
you'll certainly get link juice from me about it, but I don't thin  
it's a question of hosting company lazyness exclusively.

>> I am a huge fan of this idea overall, BTW.  I think migrating apps  
>> to PHP5 will start forcing ISPs to at least provide the option to  
>> upgrade since they'll start losing customers if they don't.
> That's the point.



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