On Wed, 15 Aug 2001, Zeev Suraski wrote:

> At 10:23 15-08-01, Stig Sæther Bakken wrote:
> >[Hi,
> >
> >I think one of the problems with this is that even if php-dev comes up
> >with a system for determining which feature it wants to see in PHP, we
> >still depend on Zeev, Andi or someone else @ Zend to implement them.
> >An RFC system would be a support for Zend's decision-making.  At the
> >end of the day, due to the licensing issues, php-dev is not the body
> >governing the language, it has an advisory role only.
> Generally, I agree with you, except it's not because of licensing issues
> (will we end up with a load of features suddenly getting into PHP if/when
> the engine license changes?).  Many other projects behave that way.  With a
> language definition, "vox populi, vox Dei" doesn't tend to work very well.

    Yes, the difference is, this creates a situation where the PHP Development
    team does not have control of the core language, Zend Technologies Ltd.
    does.  Whether this is a issue with a basis in principle or a basis in
    practicality is up to debate, however, the problem remains.

    Zend having control of the language has nothing to do with "vox
    Populi, vox Dei" (translated "the voice of the People, the voice of
    the Gods"), its more of a matter of *who* has control -- Zend
    Technologies or the PHP Developers.

    And tell me, what other languages have a commercial body controlling
    the evolution?  Certainly not any that I know of.  Yes, they may
    have a person, or a small group of people deciding what goes in the
    language and what doesn't, however, this differs in three manners:

        1) The leaders are "elected" by the community -- this makes it
        so there are signifigantly fewer power struggles (or dick size
        wars to use a Zak term).

        2) This small group usually consists of all the core developers,
        not just two.

        3) The leaders are not a commercial company.

    The relationship between a commercial company and a group of open
    source developers is a delicate thing, which requires work to
    maintain and foster, the feeling in the community, that I am picking up
    is that Zend has dropped the ball -- the licensing issues, and some
    of the commercial products surrounding the Zend engine have created in
    many a feeling of alienation, and that Zend is exploiting its position
    as the creator of the Zend engine to corner the PHP market.

    While this does not bode well for either side -- I don't think that
    means the relationship cannot be repaired, however, I do think that
    a couple of things do need to happen in order for the relationship
    to continue with any level of civility.

        1) The Zend Engine should be moved to a separate project,
        outside of the exclusive control of Zend Technologies Ltd., under a
        BSD (or some other, more friendly license, ie, Apache or MIT).  The
        PHP project should be able to have control of this engine with
        the same, or greater voice than Zend..

        2) The communication between Zend & PHP with relation to
        internal Zend developments that effect the future of PHP should
        be improved.  PHP 3.1 is a perfect example of a breakdown in

        3) (I think this'd be nice) Developments that Zend makes -- such
        as the Zend optimizer -- that make technical sense to be
        natively supported in the engine, should be added.  A good
        candidate for this would be the Zend Optimizer.  Zend can still
        make a business around PHP -- however it shouldn't be in forms
        that detract from the average programmers ability to make use of
        PHP (Zend IDE, Zend Debugger and Zend Launchpad are steps in the
        right direction, imho).

    Perhaps what I'm saying sounds a bit radical, but I do believe that
    Zend & PHP can co-exist with some level of harmony, but changes do
    need to me made, and communication needs to occur where people on
    both sides listen to each others concerns.


    "Any man is liable to error, but only a fool persists in error."
    -Cicero (Since we're doing the whole latin thing :)

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