PHP 5.3 feature freeze tomorrow? alpha1 July 31st?
I am uncertain if they are still on schedule but if so, this is very exciting because PHP 5.3 will realize significant speed improvements for all PHP programs on the web (15% for WordPress). They are suggesting a “stable release between mid September and mid October”.
PHP 5.3 brings new features (namespaces, late statics binding, and the garbage collector, for instance) but the refactoring of the argument stack, for example, and other optimization patches have lead to a measurable performance improvement (PHP 5.3 is 1.2 times faster than PHP 5.2 for raw execution speed).
Here’s a nice “slideshow” in PDF format of what’s new in PHP 5.3 by Ilia Alshanetsky