[development] Go PHP 5, Go!

Arancaytar Ilyaran arancaytar.ilyaran at gmail.com
Tue Jun 26 12:21:43 UTC 2007

On 6/26/07, Chris Johnson <cxjohnson at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 6/26/07, Dries Buytaert <dries.buytaert at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Except that this time, we risk leaving 70% of the install base
> > behind.  The amount of intelligent/constructive feedback to this
> > thread has been surprisingly low.  Let's stick to facts and real
> > arguments, please.  I'd like to see a _real_ discussion here.
> I rather thought we were having a real discussion.  I'm tempted to ask
> just exactly what "real arguments" are.
> The facts in the situation are preciously few:
> *  PHP5 provides better support than PHP4 for a bunch of technologies.
> *  Many developers of PHP-based software would like to move to PHP5
> but are held back by the installed base on PHP4.
> *  The PHP developers would like the developers and users of PHP-based
> software to move ahead to later releases (per Rasmus Lerdorf), but are
> similarly held back.
> *  Hosting service providers have little motivation to upgrade in such
> a situation.
> Beyond the above, we have little in the way of "facts" to guide us.
> It's not because people simply have not stated those missing facts.
> It's because they don't exist.
> They don't exist because we are operating in an area of many unkowns
> and guessing the future.   One never has all the facts in such a
> situation, and even when one does, it is impossible to foretell the
> future.
> Let me quote Greg Hudson:
> "It is important not to let the perfect become the enemy of the good,
> even when you can agree on what perfect is. Doubly so when you can't."
> As someone who is migrating a bunch of D4.6 sites to D4.7, and
> planning migration of 60+ sites from D4.7 to D5 and PHP5 at the same
> time, I already feel very "left behind" by the Drupal 6 crowd.  The
> amount of support for D5, D4.7 and D4.6 users is rapidly evaporating.
> For 4.x, it's quickly approaching zero.
> Temporarily leaving 70% of the install base behind will probably be
> Good Thing.  It will result in increased pressure for better
> documention and support of past releases.  It might even foster some
> empathy for the numerous sites which just cannot keep up with the
> 9-month, break-everything release cycles Drupal is famous for.  That
> would beneficial, in my view.

I'm a bit curious about what happened back when MediaWiki dropped PHP4
support. It came out of the blue for me and I did have to wait almost
half a year before I could switch to a host that gave me PHP5, so I
could update the software.

My MediaWiki is really tiny, with at most 5-10 active users and less
than 100 hits a day, so I can afford to stay on an old version for a
while. But this was back in 2005, two full years ago, when PHP5 was
even less widespread than it will be in 2008. I really wonder how many
sites were stuck with no upgrade path because they couldn't get PHP5
support, and how the owners dealt with that.

If Drupal takes this step, it would be very good to know what to
expect; fortunately, there are examples like MediaWiki to judge this.


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