What is the PHP "debug pack" for?

I just went to download PHP (5.2.6) and I noticed one of the options is “debug pack”.

OK, silly question, “its for debugging”, but who is it aimed at?

Us, developers using PHP, or developers of PHP?

And while you are at it can you tell me why are there seemingly two versions with the same name, but different file sizes and md5 hashes?

Can anyone fill me in?


I did search for this and came up with nothing but lists of bug reports :wink:

It seems the information could have been on the page with the links, but if you follow them, one is
8,691,561 bytes
and the other is
8,324,001 bytes

So I guess it depends on whether you want the “nts” (Windows NT server) version or not.

The debug version is for developers of PHP.

“nts” is non-thread safe.

Thanks for correcting that. I was wondering why it didn’t simply have "NT’ instead. This should teach me to not make assumptions. :blush: That’s a completely different meaning altogether.

Thanks for the replies people.

What, so you are saying there are so many developers that they put the debug version in public view?

Or, is this like when Firefox crashes, you get this dialog box appearing saying “report this?”.

If the latter was the case, then shouldn’ more of us be doing the equivalent of “report this?” ( though, granted its more likely to be “send us the content of the last php error”, or “send us the content of your cachegrind file” ).

Would we be good community members to download the debug version? And what action should we take.

Or is it the case that - if you have to ask then clearly you don’t qualify.



Can anyone who uses the debug version tell us what difference using that version makes when you are using it?

I believe it allows you to hook in a debugger for the purpose of hunting down bugs and/or it dumps debugging information when something goes awry. For most bugs, you can just provide a piece of code to reproduce the problem so most bugs do not need that kind of attention.

Oh I see, thanks sk89g.

Well as I already have Xdebug installed on this machine I am upgrading, which will become my main dev machine.

Should I then run with “debug pack”?

If I did that, as a good php’er, what responsibilities do I have?
Are there ways I can contribute to testing bugs?

My first IT job was as a regression tester, so I know what an absolute pain incorrectly reported bugs can be.

Sometimes there is a fine line between user error, error in documentation, an environment setup error and an actual bug - but the time taken to sort out which is which, and to reply to the reporter can take a lot of time that could be used fixing real bugs.

“Its broke” != “a bug”

Anyone point me in the right direction to find out if I can contribute in some very small way?


AFAIK, the bug tickets should have enough information and code to be able to reproduce the error. Not like a forum post saying “it doesn’t work”, without even an error message included. They don’t want code syntax/logic errors or config issues, just bugs with the core code.