Well PHP 5.1.0 is out. This is a monumental piece of work, and congratulations to the PHP 5 internals team for all the hard work. However it feels rushed through the door. Apparently there are compatibility problems (with typecasting when parameter passing, the prototype date class, and possibly other stuff.) Wait for the patches.
Later that day... I stumbled on this quote by Dave Winer:
It seems the computer industry hasn't gotten to the stage yet where it can really deliver delight to users. Maybe we spend too much time trying to fuck up the user experience. I think of that when I see pages with fifteen different formats that all do the same thing. Why? There's no need for it. How many of those types of battles were fought inside Apple that resulted in the super-shitty experience I had and Jeremy had. Maybe we need to take a step back and start thinking a bit about how this kind of bullshit keeps us from growing.
I haven't been reading the PHP internals mailing lists since August this year, but because of the rumored PHP 5.1 mishaps, I did. The in-fighting and name-calling is surprisingly heated. Open source is certainly great, the price-point is good, you can fix things yourself (if you have the skill), but the meandering directions that PHP takes can be frustrating. Some people want a more advanced programming language to keep up with the Rubies and Pythons; others (like me), want 100% backward compatibility. The Bazaar (and perhaps all software development for that matter) is sometimes too bizarre.
PS: There is a way to achieve 100% backward compatibility.