Software

Microsoft to pull support for PHP: Version 8? Exterminate, more like...

No support 'in any capacity' for PHP for Windows for v8 and beyond, but Windows users not to worry, says release manager

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Born-again open-source fan Microsoft is celebrating 25 years of PHP by, er, pulling its support for the scripting language that is beloved (or dreaded) by server operators the world over.

Microsoft engineer Dale Hirt confirmed the change on the PHP mailing list, warning that the Windows behemoth was not "going to be supporting PHP for Windows in any capacity for version 8.0 and beyond."

Current versions, 7.2, 7.3 and 7.4, will continue to receive support as per the community's cadence, which sees around two years of bug squashing followed by a year of security fixes. PHP 7.4 emerged last November, so Microsoft's benevolence should last until 2022 at which point the plug will be pulled.

Register reader Alain Williams, who tipped us off to Hirt's posting, remarked: "I suspect that it means that Microsoft will not provide any resources to make PHP 8 work but expect others to do so instead."

After thanking the Microsoft gang for its work over the years, PHP 8.0 Release Manager Sara Golemon said: "I won't say I'm not bummed," before expressing the hope that some sort of alternative might be worked out by the end of the year, when version 8 is due to drop.

On Reddit, Golemon went on to clarify things, and explained that Microsoft simply wouldn't be producing official builds for PHP 8 onwards: "This message does NOT mean that nobody will."

Golemon speculated that perhaps a cloudy VM licensed to run Windows might be "generously" provided by Microsoft, and perhaps the automated build processes might be maintained by those who had previously been doing so in an official capacity, insisting: "The bottom line is there will likely be very little change for Windows users."

Just that, officially, there won't be any more builds from Microsoft for version 8 and on.

The move is not altogether surprising. Between December 2018 and December 2019, Microsoft saw the market-share of its Windows-based Internet Information Services (IIS) slump from 42 per cent to 15 per cent, according to Netcraft, falling behind the likes of Apache and NGINX.

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Of the decision itself, our reader, Alain, commented: "Personally I don't care as I am a Linux man and am wary of touching Windows with someone else's barge pole." Indeed.

While there is no sign of Microsoft support waning outside of compilation and builds, for example the company's SQL drivers for PHP, last night's announcement might give some pause for thought over whether the firm might be considering something similar with other projects.

After all, the newly discovered love of Linux and open source from the BSOD Bobs is well documented. With the Windows Subsystem for Linux making a good fist of running apps for the penguin-tinged OS on Windows these days, an argument could be made for Microsoft not bothering to take on the build duties for the Windows incarnation of some Linux apps and platforms.

We contacted Microsoft to get its take on matters, but have yet to receive an explanation for the decision. ®

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