It is important to make sure your piwik requirements are match LTS linux distributions. The most professional distributions out there are RHEL/CentOS so stick to those php versions.
I have to say, I do agree with this. Although my personal preferences are for Debian or Ubuntu, at my workplace we use RHEL (because stability and security support for several years is of course a good thing (this also applies equally to Debian and Ubuntu LTS, of course)), but trying to install newer web packages on RHEL is often a twisty maze of third-party repos and quite a lot of hassle.
I can understand why one can be annoyed by PHP requirements.
But even the oldstable Debian version (released in April 2015) shipped with PHP 5.6.
The old Piwik version (2.x) required at least 5.3.3.
Supporting old PHP requires a lot of afford as every new feature needs to be tested or are even impossible (e.g. for securely storing password hashes one needs at least PHP 5.5.
And as only a small portion of Piwik users are using such old versions and the time of the piwik team is limited, the time is probably better spent fixing bugs and adding features that are used by more people.
I do take your point, but unfortunately the time of sysadmins is also often very limited. I’m not expecting to be able to run the very latest version of Piwik on our current OS, but it’s unfortunate that I don’t seem to be able to update the version that we do have to a newer minor release.
While it is always nice to be able to run the newest things (or even to be able to do major OS (and package) upgrades every 1 - 2 years), in many organisations there just aren’t the resources to do that, and so longer-term software support (rather than an ever-changing moving target) is more desirable. It is frustrating if RHEL turns out to be long-term more in theory than in actual useful practice, however. As I said, it is not the webserver OS that I would choose myself.
Probably my only real option is sadly to discontinue our local Piwik installation if I can’t try to keep it reasonably up to date with the limited time that I have (sadly few colleagues are interested in the usage statistics for our websites, as although they do contribute to our business, due to the nature of our business, many enquiries come via other means).