One of the things that's been hanging around PHP's neck since its early days is the magic_quotes setting that was introduces to try to make things easier. In this interesting post Arpad Ray takes a look at this setting and why its a bad thing for PHP to have around.
Like register_globals, it helped lower the barrier of entry to building a dynamic website by removing some of the complexity. However it certainly wasn't without sacrifice, problems with the implementation quickly appeared and continued to abound for the next ten years. Finally in PHP 5.2.2 we got an implementation which (as far as its intentions went) seemed to be bug free, but of course by then it was turned off by default and was already slated to be dropped in PHP 6.
He looks at a few reasons they're bad (not good enough for escaping, inconsistent, performance issues) and some methods - code snippets - on how to deal with it being turned on on your server.