[php-maint] [PHP-DEV] Re: [PHP-DEV] PHP 5.3.9 and is_a changes

Thomas Goirand zigo at debian.org
Tue Oct 25 05:23:29 UTC 2011

On 10/25/2011 06:18 AM, devis at lucato.it wrote:
> Hi,
> I have always disliked the lack of modern packages on Debian/Ubuntu
> distros, I feel like minor are misused as major versions, with an
> exaggerated fear to upgrade.

There was quite some changes with some resulting issue when switching
Squeeze from 5.2 to 5.3, for example having a deprecation notice warning
about return of a reference, or the removal of some function. This *did*
break things, especially when dealing with XML or other parsable outputs
(I remember fixing a bunch of them last year before Squeeze was out, and
there's still some remaining to fix).

> It's like building web sites for IE6
> because people are not allowed to upgrade to IE9, very frustrating for
> developers and hard to explain to stakeholders.

This has nothing to do with it. IE6 isn't maintained anymore, and we
don't have the sources to backport security issues. And it's not about
not being allowed to upgrade (you are free to upgrade to the version of
php currently in experimental for example), it's about supporting a
given version for the life of a distribution, because that's what we do,
which is very different. That's a very bad comparison, IMHO.

> (OT: so I welcomed
> Chrome/FF choice to bump major versions very frequently).

I don't. There was no major changes between FF 5, 6 or 7, and they've
dropped support for 5 and 6 so fast. That's not being responsible for
what they release, and not being nice at all for downstream
distributions and their users. Since I am using FF7, a bunch of things
have broke (like in some case, my mplayer plugin), and I have no way to
fix it. I would have happily keep FF5 or 6 which were perfect for me,
but no choice, they aren't supported, and have security issues. So I'm
stuck. This is the kind of situation we want to avoid here!

> Why can Ubuntu only support 5.3.x and not simply 5.x ?

Because 5.2 and 5.3 were different, and probably 5.4 will also bring
changes. The difference isn't only in the version, but also on the
behavior, which needs to be addressed.

> As far as I can
> see BC will be guaranteed, PHP maintainers are really committed to it,
> and only a new major version would be so problematic as many suggest.

When you say "BC", do you mean "Backward Compatibility"? Well, see
above, it might be compatible, but there are still issues!!!

> As a user, I would really encourage to include the latest stable 5.x and
> provide to the community all the available 5.x upgrade during the next 5
> years (5.4, 5.5 etc).

No. We aren't doing releases like CentOS does, and which creates lots of
issues. If you want to change from one version to another, you got to be
the one deciding to do it, a particular version of a distribution
shouldn't *never* force you to do it, and there should be *zero*
behavior change if possible.

> Those 105 php apps should be maintained or
> removed, not used as an excuse to slow down the community. 

They are maintained or removed, but you see, checking for each of them
isn't something that can be done in few days: it takes time, and you got
to give each maintainer enough time for it.

> Then, if a PHP 6 will ever be released, then someone will rightly wonder
> "should we include PHP 6 in the next LST ?"

Most probably, both PHP 5.x and 6.x will be maintained for a while at
the same time, to give people enough time to transition to it, exactly
like what happened when switching from 4 to 5. That is, of course, if we
have enough human time to work on this. I hope that upstream PHP
maintainers will also maintain 5.x for a while when they will start
advising to switch to 6.

Thomas Goirand (zigo)

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