Emacs: No More of My Own Code for PHP Mode

My apologies for the quiet month, as I’ve plans weighing on my mind. In the past I have asked for another Emacs Lisp developer to hopefully step up and offer to maintain PHP Mode. As of today I will no longer work on feature requests for the project. If developers continue to send me improvements and/or bug fixes then I will be happy to review and merge them as necessary. However, I feel like it is time to end my personal work on PHP Mode. I will not completely walk away and leave the project in a dead state until someone is willing to take over the role as maintainer. But from today forward I will no longer be an active contributor, instead simply merging contributions from the myriad of developers who have worked to improve PHP Mode to what it is today.

If you are a PHP programmer, use Emacs, and wish to improve the mode then please take a loot at the latest mode. If you have any questions feel free to ask any quenions.

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4 thoughts on “Emacs: No More of My Own Code for PHP Mode

  1. Hi, EJMR. Thanks for all the work you’ve done maintaining PHP Mode! http://www.emacswiki.org/PhpMode refers to some of the contributors not being willing to sign FSF copyright papers, and that this is the reason PHP Mode is not in the Emacs distribution. Do you know much about the situation, e.g., whether or not the code from those contributors still makes up a significant portion of PHP Mode?

    The reason I ask is that it might be easier to get some maintenance energy on it if it were in the Emacs tree (obviously).

    Best,
    -Karl

    1. Hey Karl,

      When I first started maintaining PHP Mode I did some research to find out how realistic it would be to get PHP Mode accepted into the GNU Emacs distribution itself. I very quickly learned that it would require a rewrite from scratch. Like you say, there are some people who do not wish to assign the copyright for their work to the Free Software Foundation. However, a bigger obstacle in my opinion is simply contacting all of the contributors. For many contributors I have no real name or email address, no means to contact them to ask about copyright re-assignment. The “easiest” way to get around that issue is to rewrite their contributions. But I found two problems with that:

      1. PHP Mode is not completely documented with regard to who wrote what code.
      2. Lots of that rewriting would border on being copy-and-paste, which isn’t good enough to satisfy both my personal and legal standards for original work. (Although I could be wrong about the legal aspect.) If some people do not want to assign the copyright for their code to the FSF then I do not want to rewrite their code with only minor modifications and then hand over that copyright under the guise of it being my own work.

      With those things in mind I decided not to do any rewriting and to accept that PHP Mode would move forward while remaining inelligible for inclusion in GNU Emacs. That decision was also influenced by the (at the time) new package repositories for Emacs which accepted code that could not be bundled with Emacs itself. I decided that making PHP Mode part of repositories like MELPA would be “good enough” for users who wanted an easy way to install and update PHP Mode. But as you point out, that does not provide PHP Mode a level of inherent support that would come from official inclusion alongside Emacs.

      All that said, I don’t regret my decision to not further pursue ways of getting PHP Mode accepted into the GNU Emacs source. I would be happy to assign the copyright for my own contributions to the FSF if that situation ever arose. But I have no doubts that some contributors would not want to do the same, and in the long run I think not requiring that from developers ultimately benefits users by lowering the barrier of entry for contributors.

      My apologies for the delay in responding. Thanks for your comment!

  2. Hi,

    I’m a user of your php-mode. And right now I start to have more time out of the work. Are you still looking for a maintainer? I’d like to help with that.

    1. I am, and in fact coincidentally mentioned this recently. I think he best thing you could do is look at the open tickets on the GitHub page and see what you can contribue. I believe the next maintainer will naturally arise from that.

      Thank you for wanting to help and I hope you continue to find PHP Mode useful.

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