The Baron Von Harokonen once said: “Everyone hates a popular man” or something to that effect.
I find it interesting that all of the things you list as good about PHP I consider bad, and everything bad I consider good, or useful.
There’s some kind of insanity attached to the idea that for a simple single-page web application I should have to install 12+mb of libraries and use a framework like laravel.
I kind of see PHP in the same vein as Trumpists and Brexiteers. A group of effete intellectuals pontificate about ideal situations and look down their noses at all of the people in the trenches — in the end the majority wins.
The truth is, PHP is the single most popular and used backend language that exists, it has the broadest coverage of websites implemented, somewhere near 80% though it fluctuates.
PHP is a wonderfully developed language, with a rich and organic feature set that has grown out of necessity and user requirement, as opposed to the tedious bloat of “big idea” languages that serve a philosophy before their users.
That doesn’t mean I particularly like the direction of some of PHP, I despise studly case and find the use of reflection and OOP a malperforming bore.
I suppose in the end every language is pulled by some egoistic pseudo-intellectual gravity to become more like Java or more like Haskell, and for those of us who don’t really like either of those, we just have sit on our thumbs and listen to the preachy mewlings of fad remix programmers who prefer form over substance.