The PHP development team officially announced PHP 4 end of life (EoL):
The PHP development team hereby announces that support for PHP 4 will continue until the end of this year only. After 2007-12-31 there will be no more releases of PHP 4.4. We will continue to make critical security fixes available on a case-by-case basis until 2008-08-08.
PHP 4 has been around for 7 years and PHP 5 for 3 years now. The PHP development team needed to draw a line in the sand and move forward. PHP 5 offers additional capabilities, more security, and OO, to list a few reasons for a PHP developer to upgrade. The fact that PHP 5 support OO programming (i.e. scary stuff for some of us) and PHP 4 “has pretty much all I need” have been reasons for PHP users to stay with PHP 4.
I make a distinction between PHP users (i.e. me) vs. PHP developers (i.e. someone working at Yahoo/Flickr who codes in PHP for a living). A migration from PHP 4 to PHP 5 isn’t as dramatic for PHP developers, even if their current applications are heavily PHP 4 based. PHP developers have the skills to troubleshoot any migration issues and re-write components as necessary. PHP users likely started with code copied from somewhere else that they’ve modified to the best of their abilities and understanding. So, when something doesn’t migrate from PHP 4 to PHP 5, “who ‘ya gonna call”?
Could a groundswell of PHP 4 users happy enough with PHP 4 and uninterested in PHP 5 capabilities be the impetus for a community to (form and) continue supporting PHP 4 beyond 2008-08-08? Realistic or not, I think PHP 4 users would prefer this option over migrating.
Could this situation test an OSS obvious truth: “you have the source, so why worry?”
Having the source to PHP 4 doesn’t help a PHP 4 user like me too much. Arguably, countless PHP 4 users just need to find one person out there that will keep the PHP 4 development stream alive. Will that happen?
PS: I completely understand that the situation for PHP 4 users is much better than if PHP 4 was Traditional software and its EoL was announced. But hey, you could always pay to get support for a product past its EoL.