Dropping support for PHP 5.5 in the next 7.10.x release

Hi all, I wanted to notify everyone about our (the SuiteCRM community, I’m not an employee of SalesAgility :P) intent to remove support for PHP 5.5 in an upcoming SuiteCRM 7.10.x update, most likely either the next release, or the release immediately following it.

We want to get the word out ahead of time to reduce the number of users effected by this change, and I also wanted to communicate some of the reasons for this change.

  • 7.11 dropped 5.5 support, which makes some backports to 7.10 more difficult.
  • 7.10.x is an LTS and will still be supported for almost another full year, which means the backporting issues will only get worse as time goes on.
  • Travis CI, the CI service that SuiteCRM uses, only has PHP 5.5 on Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty. The problem with this is that Google Chrome just dropped support for Trusty with v77 a few days ago, so now we’re unable to install Chrome and run automated acceptance tests on PHP 5.5 in CI.
    • There may be workarounds for this, but it’s take time and blocks PRs from being merged until it gets fixed.
  • Many libraries have dropped support for 5.5, which makes it impossible for us to keep libraries up-to-date with security and bug fixes.
  • php-cs-fixer also does not support PHP 5.5, which makes it impossible to run CI linting on the hotfix-7.10 branch. This means if we enable linting on hotfix, when 7.10 changes are merged into hotfix every month there will likely be linting failures introduced that will need to be fixed during the merge process. This makes both linting and merging significantly more painful.
  • PHP 5.5 is unsupported by the PHP upstream project and has been EOL since June 2016, over 3 years ago! https://www.php.net/supported-versions.php
    • On that note, PHP 5.6 and 7.0 are also EOL and no longer recieve security fixes. PHP 7.1 will become EOL in December, just three months from now! If you haven’t upgraded to at least 7.2 yet, you should!
  • 5.5 is another version we have to test in CI, which makes CI take longer.
  • PHP 5.5 and 5.6 should mostly be compatible with each other, so upgrading shouldn’t be a significant problem for most users.

Essentially, it makes development more complex, makes it take longer, and results in a worse product for the end-user. I hope everyone understands that this isn’t an arbitrary decision, it’s done because the alternative is a significant burden on the project.

Please see this issue on GitHub for more info: https://github.com/salesagility/SuiteCRM/issues/7463