The Switch To PHP5
Finally a reason for web hosts to switch to PHP5! Many excellent hosting plans gain low ratings because of their stubbornness to upgrade to the latest major version of PHP. The only reason that they ever give is “We will update the php on our servers as soon as we make sure that this will not cause a global servers problem!”. While it sounds great on paper, it looses value when analyzed. For example, should a web cafe continue running Windows 95 on their client computer because it works with their current setup? No! Many new features require Windows XP, and it’s the same case with PHP.
Also PHP5 has been out for 3 years now, so I am sure all the major bugs and incompatibilities have been ironed out, so updating will only require a simple “apt-get remove mod_php4 & apt-get install mod_php5” (most web hosts run Debian Linux) on a couple of servers and a quick look over the new options in php.ini. All the settings that take care of shared hosting and multiple servers have nothing to do with PHP, so that should not be a problem.
While it is true that many users do require PHP4 for their websites, it can only be blamed on the actual web hosts as they encourage more PHP4 development (which in turn requires them to provide PHP4). It is an endless loop that has to be stopped at some time. I am happy to hear that the Open Source community are undertaking the first step in this process.
The endless loop also includes the PHP developers, as pointed out by the following quote:
The PHP development team, of course, can’t drop maintenance support for PHP4 while most web hosts still run PHP 4.
I disagree with it, the PHP team has no responsibility to support the stubborn hosts that refuse to move on. You don’t see Microsoft still maintaining Windows 2000, even though it is a much more complicated to upgrade from it. I believe that as long as the developers give a fair warning to their users, they have the right to drop support.
Several hosts already fully support PHP5, and I congratulate them for it. They will be the ones getting business from me.