In the process of debugging one of his scripts, Brian Moon came across a default setting (and problem) in the MySQL extension that didn't seem to make much sense to him:
There are several reasons that PHP could not be able to connect to MySQL. [...] Or, perhaps the entire server is offline.
The mysql.connect_timeout setting in the php.ini is supposed to handle this sort of instance, but the default is set tpo 60 seconds. It's only apparently used when the server is completely offline and, in his opinion, is set way too high. He's proposing a patch to the MySQL extension to change this setting's default to shorten it to something a bit more reasonable.