PHP 7 on Arch Linux

I have been working on PHP 7 packages for a while. They are available in my repository:

Server =$repo/os/$arch

Insert these lines on top of the other repository definitions in your /etc/pacman.conf A copy of the PKGBUILDs I used to create the packages are available in my git repository.

Upstream changes

PHP 7 is possibly one of the most interesting releases since version 5 which was published over a decade ago. Besides up to twice the performance PHP now offers scalar type declarations and return types. The official migration guide lists all new features and incompatible changes.

Packaging changes

With PHP 7 I am trying to move closer to upstream defaults and be less opinionated. While this requires a more responsible configuration by the user it also eliminates some surprises. And after all this is the Arch way. As a bonus, scripts like Composer work fine with the default configuration now.

Core package changes

  • php-pear is no longer available
  • php-mssql was removed by upstream
  • php-ldap is now included in the core php package as its dependencies were already met
  • The mysql extension was dropped upstream and is no longer available

Configuration changes

  • openssl, phar and posix modules are now built in. Remove the corresponding directives from you php.ini, e.g.
  • The include_path is no longer set to /usr/share/pear by default
  • open_basedir is no longer defined. This also means that packaged scripts do not need to be put into an awkward /usr/share/webapps directory.
  • PHP-FPM does no longer provide a logrotate configuration. By default errors are logged to syslog (these will be picked up by journald).
  • FPM pool configuration is now stored in /etc/php/php-fpm.d by default.
  • The upstream FPM service file is now installed which does not include PrivateTmp=true.

Third party extensions

We offer a few PHP modules that are maintained by third parties and are not part of the PHP source distribution. So far only modules that are in active development were able to provide updated versions. This means we have to drop most of these PHP extensions, especially those that might be considered dead.

The following list provides an overview of modules I gathered so far. It is possible we could re-upload updated packages once upstream provides us with compatible versions.

graphvizincompatibleremove PHP bindings
php-apcucompatibleupdate to version 5
php-geoipincompatibleremove package
php-memcacheincompatibleremove package, project seems dead
php-memcachedincompatibleremove package, move back when upstream version is available
php-mongoincompatibleremove package, superseded by themongodb driver
php-xcacheincompatibleremove package, project seems dead
uwsgi-plugin-phpincompatibleremove PHP support, upstream update seems possible
xdebugcompatibleupdate to latest release candidate of version 2.4

In addition to this I will introduce a new module called php-apc-bc which will provide the legacy apc_ function for use with the APCu extension. Before version 5 this feature was provided by APCu itself.

Testing in Production

While I have been working on PHP 7 for months now one really only sees how it performs when put into production. So a few days ago I started running all services at (this also includes this very blog) with that latest version of PHP.

So far its running fine. The update went smoother than expected and the needed configuration changes were close to nonexistent.

There are some regular but very few core dumps produced by php-fpm. These did not result in 5xx server responses though and I assume that they are related to shutting down fpm workers. It should be investigated but it does not seem critical.

Before updating I had to make two small source code changes:

  • Engine errors are now of the type \Error. \Error and \Exception implement the \Throwable interface. So I had to adjust a type hint, or in this case remove it so it would also work in PHP 5.6.
  • The return type of the \SessionHandlerInterface are now enforced. If you return anything other than a string in your custom session handler the operation will fail.

Your Feedback

Now it is your turn. The packages provided in my repository are ready and I will ensure an upgrade path once the updated packages are available in the [extra] repository. I do not plan to hold them back for very long but I’d like to get some feedback first. After all it is a major update, we drop a lot of extensions and compatibility with many scripts out there is unknown.

Try these packages, test your own code and send me your feedback and suggestions.

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