Excessive PHP version requirement

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counterpoint
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Excessive PHP version requirement

Post by counterpoint » Sat Sep 11, 2021 4:22 pm

I'm disappointed that Joomla continues to press people to run PHP versions with very little history, and tries to push them off stable and reliable versions.

All my servers run on Debian, which I regard as the distribution with the most robust release and upgrade process. Joomla 4 is now saying that PHP version 7.3.29 is only receiving security fixes and urging an upgrade. Yet Debian 10 uses that version, and with Debian 11 only released a few weeks ago, Debian 10 will be fully supported for at least another year. It is unreasonable to press people to upgrade to a new operating system instantly on its release.

And the recommended version for Joomla 4 is said to be 8. But Debian 11, only just released, provides 7.4 and there will not be a Debian release containing PHP 8 for around two years.

The track record of the Debian project shows much greater stability than the PHP project. There really isn't a good argument for demanding that people update their PHP versions before the operating system changes. For as long as a Debian release is supported, the included PHP version will receive important updates in a reliable way. This is a lot safer than arbitrarily installing the latest PHP version.

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Per Yngve Berg
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Re: Excessive PHP version requirement

Post by Per Yngve Berg » Sat Sep 11, 2021 4:43 pm

That information is from the PHP project, not Joomla. PHP 7.3 is going EOL in December.
Of cause Joomla will continue to work perfectly fine with 7.3 also after that date.

Ubuntu have PHP 8. It's Debian that are late here.

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sozzled
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Re: Excessive PHP version requirement

Post by sozzled » Sat Sep 11, 2021 6:37 pm

counterpoint wrote:
Sat Sep 11, 2021 4:22 pm
Joomla 4 is now saying that PHP version 7.3.29 is only receiving security fixes and urging an upgrade.
I don't know anything about Joomla "saying" that PHP 7.3.9 is only receiving security fixes and "urging" people to upgrade. It's true that PHP 7.3.29 is at end-of-life; that's the official position of the PHP development project: https://www.php.net/supported-versions.php

I know a lot of people talk a lot of nonsense about whether you can (or should) continue to use PHP 7.3 with J!4. As far as I'm concerned, J! 4 is in such an early stage of market acceptance (having only just been released less than a month ago), I will use whatever version of PHP 7 I can use that allows me to install J! 4. The simple fact is that you need PHP 7.2.5 as the minimum (https://downloads.joomla.org/technical-requirements).

Now would I use PHP 7.2.5? No, of course I wouldn't! I wouldn't recommend using PHP 7.2. I don't even use PHP 7.3.

I use PHP 7.4 with most of my J! websites (because most of my J! websites are running J! 3.10) and I've experimented a little with PHP 8 (but, in my experimentation, I am unable to access a PHP 8-compatible release of phpMyAdmin). For the most part, I can use J! 3.10 and J! 4.0 with PHP 8 but I have a couple of websites that fall over if I try that; so I'm working through these things patiently and slowly. There's no urgency.

Urgency is dictated by market forces: when your webhosting provider withdraws support for the software platform that you need to run your business. Urgency is not dictated because "Joomla says ...".

counterpoint wrote:
Sat Sep 11, 2021 4:22 pm
... the recommended version for Joomla 4 is said to be 8
That's true —if every website on the planet using J! 4 did not have any third party extensions installed on it that were incompatible with PHP 8— the recommended version for J! 4 is PHP 8. The problem is that many extensions that claim to be J! 4-compatible are not PHP 8-compliant; many extensions still use outdated coding techniques that are not compliant with PHP 8's strict regime. While it's true that people will "recommend" something or "urge" others to pursue a particular course, it's ultimately up to every one of us to decide what's best for our own circumstances.

Of course, when the wheels come off and we find our websites breaking because we're using outdated and unsupported software, we can't really complain that we weren't warned about these things happening, can we?
“If you think I’m wrong then say, ‘I think you’re wrong.’ If you say ‘You’re wrong!’, how do you know?” :)

counterpoint
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Re: Excessive PHP version requirement

Post by counterpoint » Mon Sep 13, 2021 1:14 pm

Well, I'm disappointed but not surprised at the negativity of the replies. Which sadly ignore the thrust of my comments, and also misrepresent them.

Debian is not late. Debian has a conservative release policy, which is not the same thing. PHP 7.3.29-1~deb10u1 is not EOL and will be supported by the Debian project for another year. Talk of "outdated and unsupported software" is inappropriate and irrelevant to my concerns, all the software in a Debian release is normally supported for a year after the next release appears. I haven't mentioned using earlier versions.

Some people may choose to use different distributions, or to install different PHP versions. But my experience is that the PHP project is rather less reliable than the Debian project. I don't want to be at the bleeding edge where there is no need. And I prefer the cautious release policy of Debian to Ubuntu.

I don't know why these policies should be driven by providers of shared web hosting. Many people, especially those running serious web sites, will be running on a VPS nowadays. With the ability to install whatever system they choose, and not dictated by the service provider.

It's one thing being PHP 8 compliant, it is quite another to require or recommend it. Given a cautious policy on adoption of new (and potentially unreliable) software, I would always seek to make any software I write avoid relance on very recent features, even though I am happy enough to make it compatible. There is rarely any pressing need to latch on to new features as soon as they become available.

I regret the fact that the Joomla project seems so uninterested in policies that are geared to robustness of software and avoidance of the pitfalls that come with constantly attempting to be at the edge of development.

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brian
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Re: Excessive PHP version requirement

Post by brian » Mon Sep 13, 2021 1:38 pm

Hey counterpoint - been a long time

Debian support policy is their own prerogative. If they chose to claim to support end of life software then that's great for them but is it really something that can be relied upon. I would far rather rely on the php team to maintain their software than a third party (and in this case debian is a third party). All debian do is to backport security fixes (and occasionally bug fixes) that have been made to current releases of php to their own eol version. At this point its no longer php but a fork. This is where the problems occur.

1. you cannot rely on the php version number to identify correctly which version of php it actually is and what features it supports
2. when there is a security issue that is already fixed in the current release then the php team won't release a fix for the old version as the fix is to upgrade. so there is nothing for the debian team to backport and their fork of php is still vulnerable.

> I regret the fact that the Joomla project seems so uninterested in policies that are geared to robustness of software and avoidance of the pitfalls that come with constantly attempting to be at the edge of development.

That's not supported by the facts. Joomla 3.x will be supported for another 23 months, 3 weeks and 4 days. Joomla 3.x still works on php 5.3.10 which was released 10 January 2012

So if you dont want to upgrade then no one is forcing you to.

In fact by the time that joomla 3.x support ends and you need to upgrade to joomla 4.x with a minimum php version of 7.2.5 that version of php will already be over three years beyond the end of life.

So hardly cutting edge
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sozzled
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Re: Excessive PHP version requirement

Post by sozzled » Mon Sep 13, 2021 4:30 pm

counterpoint wrote:
Mon Sep 13, 2021 1:14 pm
Talk of "outdated and unsupported software" is inappropriate and irrelevant to my concerns ...
I was, like @brian, talking in the future tense. I was only saying that, if [at some time in the future] some software written by someone breaks, and the the users if that software had been advised by that "someone" that support for the software had ceased, then we can't complain when that happens and we shouldn't be too surprised when that happens.

counterpoint wrote:
Mon Sep 13, 2021 1:14 pm
It's one thing being PHP 8 compliant, it is quite another to require or recommend it.
No-one should say that PHP 8.something is a requirement. I'm not sure where you infer that. PHP 8 is recommended but, at this time, I choose to use whatever version of PHP that I wish to use.

I agree with @brian's summations.

For the record, none of us here are annoited representatives who can speak authoritatively about "Joomla's" policies w.r.t. technical requirements. We're just reading the tea leaves. 8). I always defer to @brian who is a better tea-leaf reader than me.
“If you think I’m wrong then say, ‘I think you’re wrong.’ If you say ‘You’re wrong!’, how do you know?” :)


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