Well, I wasn't going to, but I decided to install the PECL::Perl extension for PHP afterall. So far it seems to work with the two modules that were proving to be difficult to find native PHP replacements for, Text::Diff and Net::Telnet.
Here is an example of using it with Net::Telnet:
<?php $perl = new Perl(); $perl->eval('use Net::Telnet'); $t = $perl->eval(<<<'PERL_END' new Net::Telnet( Prompt => '/\S+[#>][ ]?$/' ); PERL_END ); $t->open( '172.31.38.65' ); $t->login( $username, $password ); $lines = $t->array->cmd( 'show ver' ); print_r( $lines ); ?>
I am sure that there are people that are going to hate this solution :)