In his latest post Lukas Smith looks at what he sees coming for PHP and its community as well as some thoughts about the current state of the language and ecosystem around it.
To me it feels like PHP development has become much better structured. It also feels like the RFC process has enabled an influx of new contributors that previously simply didn't know how to get their stuff in. [...] The beauty of clearer processes is that it can also help in clearer delegation, which can lead to subgroups within an open source organization that again have an inner circle of 10-20 really active people.
He suggests, however, that this whole structured process could be "turned upside down" in the coming year or so by things like the HHVM from Facebook and some of the things it would "fix" as a compiler of PHP code. He points out one of the issues with this approach, though - that Facebook (and the HHVM developers) could start to be in control of the evolution of PHP. It does bring up an interesting idea though...that with HHVM compiling code, PHP "extensions" could just become userland code and wouldn't need to be written in C as they'd just be compiled down anyway.
So in conclusion there are lots of reasons to be excited about HHVM's impact on the PHP community. But we should also ensure that in the process the community does not become dependent on a commercial entity.