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PHP developers cannot leverage PHP 5′s full potential without dropping support for PHP 4, but PHP 4 is still installed on a majority of shared web hosts and users would then be forced to switch to a different application. Web hosts cannot upgrade their servers to PHP 5 without making it impossible for their users to run PHP 4-targeted web apps, and have no incentive to go to the effort of testing and deploying PHP 5 while most web apps are still compatible with PHP 4 and the PHP development team still provides maintenance support for PHP 4. The PHP development team, of course, can’t drop maintenance support for PHP 4 while most web hosts still run PHP 4.

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  • Wim

    Webhosts CAN upgrade their servers to run PHP4 en 5 side by side, by means of running at least one of them as fast-cgi module. It would be good if PHP.net spelled out this upgrade path to help break the loop you sketch.

    Sadly, so far there’s mostly silence over there and here and there some remnants of the old myth that cgi-mode is vastly inferior to mod_php. With the progress made in the field of fast-cgi and the additional safety cgi mode offers for the users of shared servers, it may well be that cgi mode is actually the superior solution for shared web hosts nowadays.

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