Fabien Potencier (of the Symfony project) has posted his own response to some of the recent comments around PHP and its quality, pointing out mainly that PHP is about getting things done (and knows its not the "most beautiful" language out there).
The biggest problem of these rants is that they come from people stuck in the old days of PHP. They either don't care or they don't want to admit that PHP actually evolves at a very fast pace, both at the language level but also at the community level. In fact, it evolves much faster than any other language or web platform. It has not always been the case, but the last 5 years have been an amazing journey for PHP.
He points out the usage stats of the general usage of PHP across the web, the sites that use the PHP-based WordPress software and the percentage of use for CMSes like Joomla. He talks about how some of the recent advancements in the language have brought it into its own and three points that have made the language even better - its adoption of git for it's core source code management, the Composer package management system and the collaboration that is happening between projects.