On November 2nd at All Things Open, Major League Hacking (MLH) announced that The PHP Foundation won the Next Generation category of the 2022 Open Source Awards.

According to market reports from w3techs.com, more than 75% of all websites with known technology run PHP. This is surprising to many up-and-coming technologists, who are likely learning the ropes with Python or JavaScript or even newer languages like Rust. Yet PHP has continued to be a dominant language for nearly three decades now, reinforced by sites like WordPress, Wikipedia, Etsy, and even Meta depending on how you categorize their HHVM compiler.

Despite this long-term dominance in the market, PHP itself has been maintained by a small but mighty group of core contributors in recent years. To reduce the bus factor of PHP, a passionate group of community members banded together in late 2021 to build a new foundation focused on ensuring the long life and prosperity of the PHP language. This foundation would provide a way for companies to pool funding and collectively hire core developers to maintain and contribute to PHP, ensuring its continuity for many decades to come.

This type of bus factor is a common problem in open source ecosystems, where projects are heavily reliant on a small group of committed individuals for their continued existence. At MLH, we believe that the way to sustain open source is to create on-ramps to projects for early-career developers to become contributors and eventually maintainers. We have seen this play out in real-time in our MLH Fellowship program. Partners have sponsored more than 1000 new contributors, enabling them to make substantial merges into major open source projects used by millions of programmers around the world. The vast majority of these new contributors would not have successfully gotten their foot in the door without the structure and support that the MLH Fellowship (and similar programs) provide.

“Thank you, MLH and jury, for this honor and giving the award to The PHP Foundation. The PHP language is a living entity and, as such, requires continuous support to address developer issues, resolve security vulnerabilities, and evolve to meet the needs of the future. Based on the strong first year of the foundation, we are excited to continue and multiply the efforts in the next years.

We are thankful to the rest of the Open Source community for always being there, to the PHP developers and evangelists who continue to educate new generations, as well as to everyone who has always been a part of PHP. We continue the mission to support, advance, and develop the PHP language.– Roman Pronskiy, PHP Foundation admin | JetBrains

The PHP Foundation, and other up-and-coming open source foundations, are critical to support existing contributors to their projects. They also create welcoming and accessible spaces for the next generation. That is why our judges selected The PHP Foundation. Over time, the foundation expects to grow its focus beyond core developers to community-oriented projects. This work is imperative to the future success of PHP and open source at large, and we are proud to have them as an Open Source Award winner.

To learn more about The PHP Foundation and what they are working on, visit their website

To learn more about the MLH Fellowship, visit our website.