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The PHP Foundation

The PHP Foundation

Behind most Open Source projects is merely a community of collaborating enthusiasts that are neither formally organized nor reliably funded. In contrast, there are projects that are supported by non-profit organizations such as the Apache Software Foundation, the Linux Foundation, or the Mozilla Foundation.

In the ecosystem around PHP, organizations such as the Drupal Association, Joomla Foundation, NEOS Foundation, TYPO3 Association, or WordPress Foundation have been founded over the years. However, despite the widespread adoption of PHP, the PHP project itself had no formal organization supporting it for over 25 years.

At the same time, more than once there was a situation when the PHP community briefly worried about the future of the programming language. For example, when the company Zend was bought by Rogue Wave and several people known in the community left the company, or when it was uncertain whether Nikita Popov would continue to contribute to PHP after graduation.

Through employment with JetBrains, Nikita Popov remained with the PHP project, as did Dmitry Stogov after Rogue Wave was acquired by Perforce. However, we realized that it is not easy for companies to give back to the PHP community. Therefore, together with Interessengemeinschaft PHP e.V. and some key members of the PHP project, we worked out something to solve the "Bus Factor" problem. Unfortunately, the tax and association laws in Germany put a proverbial spoke in our wheel.

When Nikita Popov moved from JetBrains to Red Hat in 2021 to shift his focus from working on PHP to LLVM, JetBrains invited us and other community members and companies with an interest in PHP to talk. Stefan Priebsch and Sebastian Bergmann brought their experiences and ideas, which had been developed in the context of Interessengemeinschaft PHP e.V., into these discussions.

The result was the creation of The PHP Foundation: a non-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the long life and prosperity of the PHP programming language.

In its first year, The PHP Foundation has already raised over half a million US dollars. Since April 2022, The PHP Foundation has been paying the first developers to pay off technical debts in the PHP interpreter's C code and to develop new features.