I’ve been working on installing PHP5 on client webservers the past couple of days, and with some help that’s been going all right. Much I’ve read has been on the merits of PHP5 vs PHP4, little have I read on user experience. So here’s my first experiences with PHP5 and commonly used PHP packages:

  • WordPress - 1.2 has issues that are solved in 1.3 CVS. Still, it requires rcps (a regular expression library) to be installed, and with this the wp-admin triggers functions that causes a segmentation fault (signal 11) that I haven’t been able to debug yet
  • Gallery 2 - doesn’t come past the “go to step 1” in the installer. No news in the error-log
  • phpBB 1.4 - When setting up, the dialog for setting up the database returns to the default values when pressing the submit button
  • Coppermine - Undefined variable: HTTP_SERVER_VARS, HTTP_GET_VARS, HTTP_POST_VARS and HTTP_COOKIE_VARS is output to the error log. The response in the support forums have been (my translation) We don’t care about PHP5, it works with PHP4 and if you want to use our stuff, use PHP4.

After having read many similar suggestions in the various discussion boards, I was left saddened. With the Segfaults, ok, PHP5 hasn’t matured enough yet, but from running a couple of hundred jails with PHP4 I know PHP4 segfaults regularly as well. Just not consistently. But obviously people don’t care to write the PHP-based software they distribute enough to keep up with the general guidelines posted by the PHP developers long ago, the reason that variables like $_GET[] such were introduced. And safe-mode seems to be a no-no. I guess I was to optimistic thinking the pass-by-reference as opposed to pass-by-value would be a little problem for some projects, it seems to be a common problem for many.

So, my task for now will be to move all our clients that want PHP5 back to PHP4 and say no, you can’t have the benefits of PHP5. And you’ll probably go coding something that won’t run PHP5 when finally we can switch to it.

Categories: Work