The PHP development team has no vision, and they haven't ever had one. It's a hodgepodge that started out to be a "web perl" way back in the day, but then Java developers started using it and so 5 looked more and more Java-esque, but obviously being Java isn't their vision either.
Take the namespacing in this release. They are using the BACKSPACE as the namespace separator. It's f'ing awful and inconsistent, but they wanted to jam it into 5.3 ... even though Dimitri had a patch that would have used "::" for the separator, the PHP devs didn't want to use it because it would have to go in PHP 6.
That's because, just like the inconsistent library arguments, the PHP developer community, like it's user base, is "practical" .. they will sacrifice correctness for easiness. It's the same reason there's no way to flip a php.ini directive and have annoying warnings/errors turned into exceptions instead... "It's hard (because our codebase is shitty.)"
PHP sucks, but it doesn't matter to most. It's too popular. But it does suck because there's no consistent vision for it.