PEAR is short for “PHP Extension and Application Repository” and is pronounced just like the fruit. The purpose of PEAR is to provide:
A structured library of open-sourced code for PHP users
A system for code distribution and package maintenance
A standard style for code written in PHP
The PHP Foundation Classes (PFC),
The PHP Extension Community Library (PECL),
A web site, mailing lists and download mirrors to support the PHP/PEAR community
PEAR is a community-driven project with the PEAR Group as the governing body. The project has been founded by Stig S. Bakken in 1999 and quite a lot of people have joined the project since then.