[MediaWiki-l] MediaWiki-l Digest, Vol 147, Issue 9

Bryan Davis bd808 at wikimedia.org
Tue Dec 8 00:27:14 UTC 2015

On Mon, Dec 7, 2015 at 3:39 PM, Mickey Feldman <mfeldman at vigil.com> wrote:
> One more vote for this.
> Upgrades have generally caused us much pain with little or no obvious
> benefit. In our particular case, Mediawiki works well enough as is. Until
> our host decides to update PHP forcing us to upgrade Mediawiki, and
> discovering that it no longer works.
> While there may be things we might like improved, we can't afford to
> dedicate a full time Wikimedia guru to becoming expert in the hidden corners
> of the code and keeping up with every change that might have some unexpected
> side effect.
> I realize that some of the changes are security fixes, and a Good Thing, but
> I suspect these are in the minority. Our wiki is not public, so we could
> probably get away with being a bit more lax about that, but when Mediawiki
> is suddenly no longer compatible with php version-whatever, we have no
> choice but to upgrade.

I've seen a couple of comments similar to this one that seem to have
the causal chain reversed so I thought I would try to clarify.

If and when MediaWiki updates its minimum required PHP version nothing
will change for existing MediaWiki deployments. The change will only
effect new MediaWiki releases. If you are happily running MediaWiki
1.23 or similar on your wiki nothing at all will change.

If and when your hosting provider updates their installed PHP version
nothing will change for existing MediaWiki deployments. PHP generally
goes out if its way to maintain backwards compatibility with running
software designed for older versions of the PHP runtime. In the few
cases that there are backwards compatibility breaking changes it is
very likely that MediaWiki has already been patched to deal with them
unless you are running a version of MediaWiki that predates the
initial release of the new PHP version your provider has upgraded to.
In that case if you are running a supported LTS version of MediaWiki
you should only need to upgrade to the latest point version. If you
are running something older than a supported LTS release, yes you may
have to upgrade.

Bryan Davis              Wikimedia Foundation    <bd808 at wikimedia.org>
[[m:User:BDavis_(WMF)]]  Sr Software Engineer            Boise, ID USA
irc: bd808                                        v:415.839.6885 x6855

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