PHP 5.3.7 and 5.4 moving forward
From the 'Not Far Now...' files:
PHP developers have been busy this summer with both the stable 5.3.x and the next gen 5.4 branch.
Today PHP developers released PHP 5.3.7 RC5 for people to test out. This is mostly a bug fix, security and stability update. That doesn't mean that it's a release that should be taken lightly.
The fix list for PHP 5.3.7 is massive and includes improvements to OpenSSL, IMAP, Zend Engine, MySQL and PDO extensions just to name a few. There are likely at least 5 security related fixes there too, making this a 'must have' update when this is finally released in a few week.
The PHP 5.3.7 release will be the first update since March when the 5.3.6 release came out.
As for the next gen of PHP, developers issued PHP 5.4 alpha 3, on August 3rd. Development on PHP 5.4 seems to be painfully slow, from my perspective. The first indications of what would be in PHP 5.4 were revealed back in November of 2010. The big improvement in PHP 5.4 will be a speed boost of as much as 35 percent.
At the current pace of development, I doubt we'll see a PHP 5.4 release this year. Then again, with ZendCon at the end of the year, you never know...