> How safe is an update to 1.8 alpha?
I've been running it on my site for weeks now with no problems at all. Try testing it locally if you can, in case there are any problems with plugins (I don't think there should be).
Alternatively, if you have a VPS/dedicated server you should be able to disable IPv6 support there, and it will instead pass the users' IPv4 address to PHP.
> simplified from PHP 5.6.3, where you just use INET6_ATON() and INET6_NTOA()
That's *MySQL* 5.6.3 actually. It might be a while until we can require that as a minimum, I think version 5.0 and 5.5 are still very popular. Ubuntu 14.04 LTS which is one of the most popular servers, uses v5.5.
The solution we have, using PHP, actually works very well so there's no rush to change.