I love to hate PHP-the-language as much as the next guy, and I don't particularly love their design decisions for the language, but let's face it, on basic release management grounds there's nothing to complain about. On general principles I'm of the opinion that the PHP project did everything called for here and the fault is pretty much 100% on the user's side here, with the only possible counterargument being that they apparently may not have called this exact change out quite as precisely as they could have (though that implies they knew, which, well, in a sloppy-type language like this this sort of thing is easy to miss). Languages don't get to version 5 without some breaking changes, but the alternative of every language being stuck with every bad decision made in version 1 forever is worse.
Now that I remember it, it was a pretty nice setup - creating OpenVZ partitions from a template, making python from sources and testing the application within the machine. Too bad it was a one-off thing. I should have used something like buildbot or jenkins.