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Lead PHP Developer Quits 809

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the changing-of-the-guard dept.
Jasper Bryant-Greene writes "Jani Taskinen, one of the lead developers of the Zend Engine (the engine that powers PHP), as well as a lead developer for the thread safety system and other core components of the PHP project, has quit in a relatively cryptic message to the php-internals mailing list. Jani has been involved with PHP for about 6 years and his loss will undoubtedly be a big blow for the PHP project."
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Lead PHP Developer Quits

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  • Looks like... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by brockbr (640130) on Friday July 28, 2006 @07:53AM (#15797632)
    Looks like someone may need to wrestle their account back
  • by Saven Marek (739395) on Friday July 28, 2006 @07:57AM (#15797642)
    This looks like any 15 year old's "I won't be coming back here and you all suck" stormouts. The ones that happen each week, and he'll be back within a few hours.

    Why is this on slashdot?
    • Well, I'm not a phychologist or anything, but I think you may be right for the first part of the post - it seems he got angry with someone
      I'm sure most people (the ones who matter) can understand why.

      But I don't think he will come back, at leat any time soon. After leaving like that, well, at least I wouldn't.
    • by hey! (33014) on Friday July 28, 2006 @08:38AM (#15797781) Homepage Journal
      It's not that different from what adults do though.

      Recently, I read an interesting book by a psychologist named Paul Eckman. OK it wasn't an interesting book, it was a tedious book on a fascinating subject.

      A couple of the takeways from the book: emotions are persistant mental states that are triggered by situations that bear on your future well being, and in turn trigger certain stereotyped survival related behaviors. In an emotional state, people do not process new information that would contradict the survival behavior. In other words, once you get to fighting, or to running away, you aren't going to listen to reason until you've fought it out or have run far, far away. The psychologists therefore call emotional states refractory, which is a word I learned from EE "Doc" Smith which when applied to metal means hard to work and when applied to a state of mind means hard to work with.

      I've sometimes seen job listings looking for people who are passionate about their work. I'm not so sure this the right thing to look for unless you are looking for a short term employee. All jobs involve having your desires frustrated from time to time. As your emotions build up, your ability to process new information and ideas that could help you overcome your frustrations is diminished, because atavistic survival behaviors related to conflict and survival begin to strangle your productiivty.

      In that case, the best thing is to take yourself out of the situation, which in all liklihood your own behavior contributes to.

      You can take two people who are miserable and underperforming in their jobs, have them swap jobs, and suddenly they'll feel a great relief and surge of productivity, as they work flexibly around the exact same kinds of problems that had them stymied in their original job.

      Unless you're some kind of Zen master you're going to run into this sooner or later. When you reach the point where you can't perform up to your potential, even your potential as defined by the less than perfect work situation you're in, it's time to move on. This is probably why academia, infamous for its harsh and pointless politics, evolved the institution of the sabbatical. But for the rest of us, this means quitting and getting a new job.

      The emotions expressed in the email are probably universal. They do not in themselves indicate immaturity However, one thing that you do learn as you get older is when you feel strong negative emotions towards other people, hiding them is the best first reaction. In most cases you cannot change other people, especially if you are terminating your relationship to them. So the best you might hope for from negativity in the way you do this is some kind of catharsis, or perhaps some kind of public vindication. However experience teaches you don't often get those, and when you do they aren't as satisfying as you imagined them being.

      Above the simple futilty of showing your anger and disappointment, expressions of strong negative emotion evoke an equal, if not stronger reaction from their targets. Often this ignites a round of petty retribution that comes back to haunt you.

      So when it becomes impossible to deal with the emotional climate of work, leave. But always leave with a kind and magnanimous word. In the end that serves you best.

  • Message text (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 28, 2006 @07:59AM (#15797645)
    The server is rapidly getting slower, so:

    From: Jani Taskinen
    Date: Thu Jul 27 20:28:45 2006
    Subject: Good bye.
    Groups: php.internals
    Thank you all for the last 6 years or so. It has been fun (sometimes)
    and many times not so much fun. Unfortunately I have had enough and
    I don't want to be associated with this project anymore.
     
    I'm sure most people (the ones who matter) can understand why.
    If someone doesn't, I could not care less. Take care.
     
    Please do not reply to this email.
     
    --Jani
     
    p.s. Delete my CVS account. I have no use for it anymore.
    • Re:Message text (Score:5, Informative)

      by QAPete (717838) on Friday July 28, 2006 @08:22AM (#15797704) Homepage
      Rage quit FTL!

      Seriously, though, a more thorough listing of Jani's contributions over the past 6+ years might better show just how much of a loss it is to have him depart the scene (from http://www.zend.com/person.php?handle=sniper [zend.com]:

      • as a lead developer for Zend Engine II
      • as a lead developer for TSRM (Thread Safety Resource Management)
      • by testing and maintaining the build for the PHP core
      • by writing/maintaining tests for the standard functions in the PHP core
      • as a lead developer for gd, a core extension
      • by working as a developer on imap, a core extension
      • by working as a developer on session, a core extension
      • by working as a developer on sockets, a core extension
      • by providing occasional fixes for the testsuite distributed with PHP
      • by applying maintenance fixes to the underlying libraries in bcmath, pcre and xmlrpc
      • by providing tests and occasional fixes for xml
      • by providing occasional fixes for apache2filter, apache2handler, apache_hooks, cgi, cli, dba, dom, iconv, informix, isapi, ldap, mcrypt, mcve, mime_magic, msql, mssql, mysqli, mysql, ncurses, oci8, odbc, openssl, oracle, pgsql, recode, snmp, soap, sqlite, sybase, tidy and tokenizer
      • by writing/maintaining tests for mbstring, mhash, pcntl, pspell, shmop and wddx
      • by working as a developer on bugs.php.net

      Whatever the reasons were, major thanks have to go to Jani for all of his work. We would be looking at a different www without his efforts.

      • Re:Message text (Score:5, Informative)

        by Andrey (8819) on Friday July 28, 2006 @03:10PM (#15801088)
        Jani has undoubtedly contributed a lot to the PHP project, but he is _not_ a lead developer on Zend Engine or TSRM. The original Slashdot post makes it sound like this is some sort of death blow for PHP. It is not. As a simple example, Jani has been gone on a UN peace forces duty in Afghanistan for the past 6 months and while his presence was missed (mostly in bugs triage and build system), the project has not lost any steam or anything like that. Consider this:

        % grep sniper TSRM/*.[ch]
        TSRM/tsrm_nw.c:/* $Id: tsrm_nw.c,v 1.8.2.1 2006/01/01 12:50:00 sniper Exp $ */
        TSRM/tsrm_virtual_cwd.h:/* $Id: tsrm_virtual_cwd.h,v 1.48.2.5 2006/04/10 11:56:18 sniper Exp $ */
        TSRM/tsrm_win32.c:/* $Id: tsrm_win32.c,v 1.27.2.1 2006/01/01 12:50:00 sniper Exp $ */
        TSRM/tsrm_win32.h:/* $Id: tsrm_win32.h,v 1.19.2.1 2006/01/01 12:50:00 sniper Exp $ */
        % grep Jani Zend/*.[ch]
        % grep sniper Zend/*.[ch]

        I am not sure how his profile on zend.com was compiled, but whoever did it should have been more accurate. Let me emphasize this: Jani is a friend and will be missed, but that was his personal decision made for personal reasons (which I will not disclose here) and will not affect the project.

        Let's all keep our heads up and speculation down.

        -Andrei
        http://www.gravitonic.com/ [gravitonic.com]
    • Re:Message text (Score:4, Informative)

      by jZnat (793348) * on Friday July 28, 2006 @11:47AM (#15799226) Homepage Journal
      I don't even know what could have caused him to quit now. Could it be the Date class flamewars? That's the only thing that seems to have been unruly lately in the internals mailing list.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 28, 2006 @07:59AM (#15797647)
    I never spent 6 years with the same people, job, hobby, women, whatever...
  • by Tei (520358) on Friday July 28, 2006 @08:01AM (#15797652) Journal
    You only need threadsafe PHP (gettext, gd, etc) if your webpage has more than 1 concurrent user.
    Only pages with more than 1 visitor need to ca.. OOPS!
  • Shock! (Score:3, Funny)

    by bobintetley (643462) on Friday July 28, 2006 @08:02AM (#15797654)
    Oh my god! He used the phrase "could not care less" correctly! Obviously not an American ;-)
    • Re:Shock! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dsginter (104154)
      That was the first thing that I noticed.

      As a side note, I would just like to thank all of the geeks here on /. for their English Nazism. It may seem like unnecessary ranting to some, but I've learned to break quite a few bad habits just from daily reading. Some people actually go so far as to put grammar tips into their sigs.

      Along these lines, I find it fascinating that topics like Haiku and Iambic Pentameter can often get a ton of posts.

      A curious bunch, we are.
    • Re:Shock! (Score:5, Funny)

      by nogginthenog (582552) on Friday July 28, 2006 @08:43AM (#15797809)
      He's finish(ed) :-)
  • Pity (Score:5, Informative)

    by LarsWestergren (9033) on Friday July 28, 2006 @08:02AM (#15797655) Homepage Journal
    Harsh words, sounds like there is some personal conflict involved. Or maybe he just got tired and wanted to move on to something different. Best wishes to all involved anyways.

    Unfortunate for the Zend team, but I'm sure it won't be the death of PHP. There are many other developers, and you can still run PHP sites with other engines, for instance, the Quercus [caucho.com] engine in Cauchos Resin I'm sure there are similar modules available in the mono/.Net world and others.

  • Jani Taskinen who? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 28, 2006 @08:08AM (#15797671)
    Jani "sniper" Taskinen
    Jani worked on the PHP core and the Zend Engine.

    Jani has contributed to php.net in the following ways over the last 12 months:
            * as a lead developer for Zend Engine II
            * as a lead developer for TSRM (Thread Safety Resource Management)
            * by testing and maintaining the build for the PHP core
            * by writing/maintaining tests for the standard functions in the PHP core
            * as a lead developer for gd, a core extension
            * by working as a developer on imap, a core extension
            * by working as a developer on session, a core extension
            * by working as a developer on sockets, a core extension
            * by providing occasional fixes for the testsuite distributed with PHP
            * by applying maintenance fixes to the underlying libraries in bcmath, pcre and xmlrpc
            * by providing tests and occasional fixes for xml
            * by providing occasional fixes for apache2filter, apache2handler, apache_hooks, cgi, cli, dba, dom, iconv, informix, isapi, ldap, mcrypt, mcve, mime_magic, msql, mssql, mysqli, mysql, ncurses, oci8, odbc, openssl, oracle, pgsql, recode, snmp, soap, sqlite, sybase, tidy and tokenizer
            * by writing/maintaining tests for mbstring, mhash, pcntl, pspell, shmop and wddx
            * by working as a developer on bugs.php.net

  • WTF! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bloodredsun (826017) <martin.bloodredsun@com> on Friday July 28, 2006 @08:17AM (#15797691) Journal

    Must....throw....all....toys...out....of........ pram!

    If that is a legitimate message and his account hasn't been hacked then that is a top quality hissy fit! This is one of those things that will haunt him in the future as something that was posted in anger

  • Betrayal ? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 28, 2006 @08:18AM (#15797694)
    I'm sure most people (the ones who matter) can understand why. If someone doesn't, I could not care less. Take care.

    Dont know much about PHP and dont know the insides of what happens with the group but judging by the reaction I wonder if I can hazard a guess about what happened. When someone who is obviously a major driving force behind a movement of this kind quits with so much bitterness as to turn his back on his own creation, the best I can gather is he feels theres nothing left worth working/fighting for. Maybe internal politics is causing a serious strain on his ability to function and some of the fights may have wrongly undermined his credibility in the eyes of others. Its sad when people hog the limelight of someone elses hard work and alienate the people who matter for their own personal shortsighted gains. I've seen it happen all to often.
  • by slimjim8094 (941042) <slashdot3NO@SPAMjustconnected.net> on Friday July 28, 2006 @08:18AM (#15797695)
    I agree that there seems to be some "personal conflict". The people who matter...and I could care less...delete my CVS...no use for it anymore...do not reply to this email...

    Wow, is PHP really that hard to work on? Is he being threatened at gunpoint?? Seriously, why the sour grapes? Is this a hoax? Was his account hacked?
    This is not a funny post. This is trying to be serious. What's going on with this guy? If he's just done and finished working on it, he could quit w/o the bitterness. Was he feeling squashed/trodden upon?
    If PHP itself (no other factors) could do this to a guy, how much does it encourage other people to develop it?
    • Reason: burnout (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pieterh (196118) on Friday July 28, 2006 @09:13AM (#15798004) Homepage
      Burnout is a very commom symptom in all kinds of volunteer organisations, open source being one of the ones see more about on Slashdot.

      The causes are quite straight-forward. When we do something for other people, we need some kind of reward. It can come in many forms - appreciation, money, reputation, status. The best rewards change over time and are a good mix of all these.

      Open source projects consume people, with demands on their time, social life, professional capacity. The only rewards tend to be reputation. Depending on the invidual's personal life and other demands (family, job), they can sustain a heavy open source project for a few years, and as many as five or six. At some point, it either becomes a profession (with a wage) or a problem.

      All volunteer organisations have this problem and it's exacerbated by peer pressure. If everyone else is spending 80 hours a week hacking, then it seems normal to spend 81. At some points, open source projects can seem like cults, and unintentionally adopt many cult techniques to keep people involved, whatever the personal cost.

      (Those techniques include isolation from family, use of secret languages, separation from real time and real life, etc. I don't *think* any OS projects do this on purpose, though I have my secret doubts about the FSF. Just kidding, Richard!)

      I've seen burnout cases so severe the persons involved were literally sick, unable to function normally any more, and needing psychiatric help. In other cases it's project-specific. I've had this on open source projects, where after five years I've just abandoned the software, telling the users, "sorry, it's not working any more".

      Each person has different needs, but eventually if we don't get what we need, we get sick. Young people are especially vulnerable because they don't understand their own needs very well and neglect them easily.

      The upside is that burnout is easily cured by a change of scene and some tangible rewards. Some people even come back to projects they've abandoned, but it can be very difficult. A good dose of selfishness ("what do I need in order to feel happy NOW") is always useful, and a good self-protection measure in many environments, open source groups included.
    • Seriously, why the sour grapes?

      He's pissed because one of the UN peacekeepers killed by the Israeli airstrike this week was Finnish. He's Finnish, and was supposedly a UN peacekeeper at one point. The projects he was working on were hosted by an Israeli company.

      So he had an anti-semetic rant and quit.

      digg link [digg.com] (which has a lot more insightful commentary, btw)

  • Maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ethan Allison (904983) * <slashdot@neonstream.us> on Friday July 28, 2006 @08:31AM (#15797743) Homepage
    Maybe we should stop wondering about him. For all we know, he's got problems with other things in his life. Let's stop making assumptions about the poor guy. If I was Jani and saw all this psychoanalysis going on about me, I'd definitely tell whoever was doing it to shut the fuck up.
  • by Enderandrew (866215) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [werdnaredne]> on Friday July 28, 2006 @08:32AM (#15797761) Homepage Journal
    Let me get this straight. People are making pretty nasty judgments based on one terse post that may or may not be legitimate. And in that moment we forget and discount everything he has done over the past six years.

    As a volunteer he gave a great deal back to the world. You call him childish. I say he is entitled to walk away without having to explain himself.
  • Cryptic? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Friday July 28, 2006 @08:39AM (#15797786) Homepage Journal
    From reading the mirrored post above it just seems terse and upset, but not really cryptic. Cryptic is stuff like "beware of the dwarf" and "under a big 'W.'"
  • by tgpo (976851) on Friday July 28, 2006 @08:40AM (#15797792)
    He's going to work with Adobe to rework ASP. They feel he can bring a certain *cough* level of new ideas *cough* to the project.
  • by mkavanagh2 (776662) on Friday July 28, 2006 @08:47AM (#15797829)
    "_sniper_" is Jani Taskinen.
    <_sniper_> hehehehe..
    <_sniper_> all other members of the UN security council wanted to condemn Israel for attacking the UN post but USA (freedom and democracy) vetoed it....Israel says the resolution was fair.
    <_sniper_> hell yeah..
    <_sniper_> NUKE ISRAEL!
    <_sniper_> I'm so full of that fucking country..
    <Shai-Tan> indeed
    <_sniper_> Eye for an eye..I'll kill one Israel officer for one of ours, is that fair?
    <_sniper_> I bet I'll be hanged for that.
    <_sniper_> They kill one of my brother-in-arms-for-peace..I think I'm entitled to kill one of their nazis.
    <_sniper_> Hezbollah, where can I enlist?
    <_sniper_> FYI: I don't care at all what anybody thinks about me. I'm going to be openly anti-Israel from now on. This was the last straw for me. Fuck you jews.
    <_sniper_> I will also quit this project. As long as it's backed by some Israel company, I don't want to have anything to do with it.
    <_sniper_> Good bye.
    <-- _sniper_ (~jani@a88-112-115-63.elisa-laajakaista.fi) has left #php.pecl
    Seriously. Not kidding.
    • Can anyone corroborate this with logs of their own, or is this just a troll? (Leaning towards troll...)
    • by ovatto (607617) on Friday July 28, 2006 @09:22AM (#15798055)
      It probably has something to do with this: http://virtual.finland.fi/stt/showarticle.asp?intN WSAID=13246&group=General [finland.fi]
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 28, 2006 @09:26AM (#15798082)
        Jani has served as an UN peacekeeper. So probably, very much.
    • Come on mods. Copy and pasted IRC logs, posted without a referencing link, +5? Even if this DOES turn out to be from him, does this really need to be posted here on Slashdot?

    • by ben there... (946946) on Friday July 28, 2006 @09:37AM (#15798156) Journal
      That doesn't appear to be a complete transcript. Specifically:
      _sniper_ hehehehe..
      _sniper_ all other members of the UN security council wanted to condemn Israel for attacking the UN post but USA (freedom and democracy) vetoed it....Israel says the resolution was fair.
      _sniper_ hell yeah..
      _sniper_ NUKE ISRAEL!

      What's he saying "hell yeah..." and "hehehehe.." to? It seems completely incongruous with the rest of his statements, unless something was left out.
    • by Nestafo (777210) on Friday July 28, 2006 @09:43AM (#15798198)
      I have no specific information about this incident, but if the IRC log is not a fake, this might be related:

      http://wfrv.com/topstories/topstories_story_206180 457.html [wfrv.com]

      One of the four UN peacekeepers killed by Israel was a 29-year old Finn.
    • by Badly Configured (231381) * on Friday July 28, 2006 @09:46AM (#15798215)
      Without making any comment on the previous post, it might be worth mentioning that Jani himself has served as a UN peace keeper in Southern Lebanon and has been at the receiving end of both Israel and Hezbollah fire. This may entitle him to have strong personal feelings about the recent death of a Finnish peace keeper at the same location, along ones from other countries.
    • by mkavanagh2 (776662) on Friday July 28, 2006 @09:50AM (#15798243)
      Names changed because I like search/replace.
      <apples> i don't think you should have posted it at all
      <apples> and you could atleast have posted the whole thing
      <pears> bananas jani is a good friend of ours
      < bananas> I didn't have the whole thing
      <pears> bananas: posting something out of contest is bad, and its not going to do him any good
      <apples> the whole stuff on slashdot is actually crap
      <apples> but that is nothing new
      * pears is debating with himself whether to post to slasdot
      <hedge> don't
      <trees> well I kind of feel sorry for this now, I didn't expect pasting a few lines to a friend to turn into something
      ike this :S
      <pears> i have this feeling that it is unfair to jano
      <pears> jani
      <trees> however I wonder why he said that?
      <pears> not to mentioned his life long peac keeping contributions
      <hedge> it is, but IMO it's too late to change anything
      <pears> serving among other places kosovo and lebanon
      <pears> and being there himself (at the post where the 4 un peackeepers were killed by isreal)
      <pears> and currently serving in afganistan
      <pears> all that, and thanks to the IQ of our "friends" bananas and trees here
      <pears> he comes as some nazi anti-semit biggot
      <apples> trees: don't you say stupid things when you're drunk?
    • I don't really think this IRC log is true. PHP has been linked to Zend since PHP3. Zend has had some serious links to Isreal since the beginning. According to http://www.zend.com/company/management [zend.com] Zeev Suraski is a graduate of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology as is Andi Gutmans. According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Php [wikipedia.org]

      Zeev Suraski and Andi Gutmans, two Israeli developers at the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, rewrote the parser in 1997 and formed the base of PHP 3, changing t

  • Move along (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrother@@@optonline...net> on Friday July 28, 2006 @08:51AM (#15797853) Journal

    Lead developer for Zend engine of PHP quits... pandemonium and chaos ensue!

    Please! Happens all the time; guy/gal works on project for a zillion years, sits down one day in front of their terminal, calls up the code, gives it a glance and goes: I can't freakin' do this anymore! I worked on one project for three years and it was blessed when I was finally released from my contract and moved on to other things. I was proud of the app, don't get me wrong, but if I had to finagle the code yet again for the umpteenth time, I was going to lose what remains of my mind.

    Whatever the reason, he's gone. Move along... nothing to see here.

  • Cryptic? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rbarreira (836272) on Friday July 28, 2006 @08:52AM (#15797861) Homepage
    Relatively cryptic? I think it couldn't be clearer.
  • by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Friday July 28, 2006 @08:57AM (#15797902) Homepage
    I don't know about anyone else, but somedays you love the project you're working on and other days you wish it would burn down, fall over and sink into the swamp.

    He's probably not serious.
  • Seeds of conflict? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anthony Boyd (242971) on Friday July 28, 2006 @09:22AM (#15798056) Homepage

    I found these:

    http://marc.theaimsgroup.com/?l=php-dev&m=11329681 6720289&w=2 [theaimsgroup.com]
    http://marc.theaimsgroup.com/?l=php-dev&m=11532555 7711671&w=2 [theaimsgroup.com]
    http://marc.theaimsgroup.com/?l=php-dev&m=11533120 9820157&w=2 [theaimsgroup.com]

    ...which hint at conflict. Maybe one of those blew up in a way he didn't like. However, I don't think those really are the issues. I would guess it's something off-list. It's too bad. I have friends working at Zend. You never want to see someone so useful walk away.

    I must admit that I'm impressed with the mailing list -- Jani said "don't reply" and nobody did. They're either a disciplined bunch, heavily moderated, or Jani's leaving just didn't have much impact.

    -Tony

  • by Qbertino (265505) on Friday July 28, 2006 @02:47PM (#15800917)
    Sad if it's about the current war in the ME. Nationalisim is basically nothing more than a mass-psychosis, with fanatisim and fundametalisim being the extremer variants. Conducted by a few who know each other well to have millions of people who don't know each other compete or fight.
    You'd expect a high profile OSS dev intelligent enough to shake it.

    The ones that deserve to be shot are Nasralla, some back-room Zionists and a few old-school fanatic muslims in Gaza and Syria. The rest would get along quite well actually. Just the other day I saw a newsfeed where an israeli arab (sitting in a cafe with his jewish friend) hit it on the spot (paraphrased): "It's allways gouverments and organisations fighting. The common people just what to live in peace, sip their cafe and play backgammon. Jews, Muslims and whomever else."
    True that is.
    Let's hope this crap is over soon and the maniacs fit's come to an end.

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