In his latest post Hannes Magnusson describes his "dream" about a future for PHP where things like upgrading and working with extensions would be simpler, faster and more manageable.
Today we will revolutionize PHP. We will make it easier to upgrade the things you care about. We will make it easier to not upgrade things you don't want to upgrade. We will make it easier to distribute your extensions. We will make it easier to release according to your own schedule. We will make it easier to add functionality. We will make it easier to work. Ok, today is a white lie here maybe... I haven't actually implemented this, but bare with me here for a second.
With the introduction and huge growth of Composer, the PEAR package manager is fading in popularity and is slowly being abandoned. Unfortunately, it's still the primary mechanism for deploying and installing PHP extensions (PECL packages). He talks about some of his recent experience reviving a package and issues he had around the use of the packaging manager. He proposes the creation of a new "pecl install" tool - a package manager dedicated to PHP extensions, decoupled from PEAR.
The manager would just install basic PHP then leave it up to you to pick which features you need from there. The idea is still in its early stages, but the idea has taken roots and plans are being worked through to see if this idea will work for the future of the language.