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this is what i tell EVERYONE
for the first 12 apache,mysql,php,... installs
build EVERYTHING from the source .This way YOU WILL LEARN how to install and configure it
do not use any prebuilt rpm's,.deb's or other.
for this reason -- they will only save you about 30 min. on install time AFTER you DO know what you are doing .
1. Need an idea of a nice platform to work with
install RHEL 5.4 or CentOS 5.4 or suse-enterprise
you want a LONG life like 5 years of support
I personally prefer Slackware for LAMP solutions. For me they have always worked out of the box. Only recently I have encountered a missing option in MySql that will require building it from scratch if I ever need that option.
During the install, do not enable mysqld to be started automatically! You first have to configure it using a script (how to do that is described in the /etc/rc.d/rc.mysqld script).