PHP Foundation created to fund core developers • The Register


A group of 10 companies forms a new PHP foundation, with temporary administrators including PHP founder Rasmus Lerdorf.

The trigger for this initiative appears to be the decision of Nikita Popov, a major contributor to PHP, to focus primarily on LLVM in the future. Popov, currently a software developer at JetBrains working on the PhpStorm IDE, will be leaving the company on December 1, according to a Publish by Product Marketing Director Roman Pronskiy, who also presents the new foundation.

Pronskiy’s missive references Remarks by Joe Watkins, another PHP contributor, in which he argues that “there are certain parts of the PHP source code that only a few people understand” and that the future of the language depends on two people, namely Popov and Dmitry Stogov, senior engineer at Zend by Perforce. Stogov is the only person who understands the PHP JIT (just in time) compiler, says Watkins.

If Watkins is right, it puts PHP, the basis of countless websites and applications, in a precarious position, especially with Popov evolving. JetBrains has therefore joined nine other companies, including Zend, Automattic (stewards of WordPress), Acquia (home of Drupal) and Laravel (which provides a PHP deployment platform on AWS).

Further evidence of under-investment in PHP infrastructure emerged in March when its main code repository was hacked to add malicious code, although it was quickly detected and the repository moved to GitHub.

JetBrains will contribute $ 100,000 per year, with a total revenue goal of $ 300,000. The foundation will be non-profit and intends to “pay market wages to core PHP developers,” Pronskiy said. The foundation was started as an Open Collective project, where Open Collective is a platform for community projects.

Lerdorf is listed as one of the first contributors and agreed to be part of a first temporary administration, with “the composition of the permanent administration to be decided once the Foundation is in place”, adds Pronskiy in his message.

Funding developers to work on PHP is described as the “main task” of the foundation and any contributor is welcome to apply. Language decisions will remain with the PHP Feedback Request Process. JetBrains’ post is also referenced on the official website PHP site. This site belongs to the PHP Group, a group of 10 people including Lerdorf.

According to Pronskiy, PHP runs “78% of the web”, although the figure is misleading given that this is in part due to the enormous popularity of WordPress, as well as Drupal and other PHP-based content management systems. . PHP is a little down the list of most popular programming languages, 11th on the most recent StackOverflow list and sixth on the latest GitHub survey, down two places from 2019.

This still represents a huge user base, and the proposed budget of $ 300,000 seems like a small investment to keep such a critical platform healthy. ®

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