Microsoft: We're pulling the plug on Windows builds of programming language PHP

Microsoft will no longer produce official PHP builds for Windows from PHP 8.0 onwards.

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Microsoft says it will no longer contribute Windows builds of the popular PHP scripting language from PHP version 8.0 and onwards. 

Microsoft engineer Dale Hirt announced last week that as of PHP version 8.0, the company would no longer deliver the support it currently provides for PHP 7.2, PHP 7.3 and PHP 7.4. 

"We are committed to maintaining development and building of PHP on Windows for 7.2, 7.3 and 7.4 as long as they are officially supported. We are not, however, going to be supporting PHP for Windows in any capacity for version 8.0 and beyond," wrote Hirt

PHP 7.2 will no longer be officially supported from November, while PHP 7.3 will only receive security fixes from November. PHP 7.4 will continue to have one more year of bug fixes, followed by one year of security fixes. Development of PHP 8.0 is currently ramping up. 

PHP core developer Sara Golemon clarified that Microsoft dropping support for PHP 8 doesn't mean Windows won't support PHP 8. 

"This message means Microsoft aren't going to produce official builds for PHP 8 onwards," said Golemon in a Reddit post. "This message does NOT mean that nobody will. 

"Most likely the project will dust off a machine somewhere in the cloud running Windows (likely using a free license generously provided by Microsoft, btw) and setup some automated build processes to make these 'inhouse'. 

"We're still in initial reaction phase here, but the bottom line is there will likely be very little change for Windows users."

Some PHP developers have taken Microsoft's move as a suggestion from the company to use Windows Subsystem for Linux 2.

Dropping build support for PHP might also make sense for Microsoft because of changes to Azure. As one Hacker News reader points out, Microsoft's original managed PHP offering on Azure App Service was running only on Windows, but Azure App Service now also supports Linux, so there's less of a need for PHP.

PHP remains a popular programming language choice among developers, ranking fourth since 2015 in GitHub's annual Octoverse survey behind JavaScript, Python and Java, and between fifth place in 2005 and seventh place today in Tiobe's long-term programming language history.

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