Where did everyone go?
Finally figured out my problem.
If anyone else is considering setting up a LAMP system, here are the lessons I've learned.
Im on FC2.
downloaded and installed MySQL no problem (refer to other tut's for that info).
downloaded and installed Apache/2.0.52
when installing PHP, think carefully about what you would like to do in the future.
for instance, i wanted the ability to create photo albums on my site. figured i would play with coppermine for a while just to keep in touch with family and friends.
the options you need for PHP to be able to handle image manipulation are GD (unless you wanna use ImageMagick).
So, configuring PHP is where the problem was. In my case, I didn't have JPEG support compiled into the GD module.
AND i didnt have a clear understanding of how PHP handled images (a day or so on the php.net site fixed that up a little).
Long story short. if you want GD to handle image manipulation on your site, you'll need to pay careful attention to 2 things.
1. JPEG support. You'll want to install jpeg-6b from ftp://ftp.uu.net/graphics/jpeg/
when you compile jpeg-6b, be sure to check your ./configure --help options. in your case you'll want ./configure --enable-shared.
(This is the part that had me pulling hair out for a full day).
2. When compiling PHP, again check your ./configure --help. In my case, it was:
./configure --with-apxs2=/usr/local/apache/bin/apxs --with-mysql=/usr/local/mysql/ --with-zlib --with-bz2 --with-xml --enable-exif --with-gd --with-jpeg --with-jpeg-dir=/usr/local/lib
that should get you going.
Also, as a side note. Coppermine does NOT allow .gif files when using the GD libraries (with good reason, use .png instead). This is yet another case of being impatient and not reading the documentation fully before embarking on a frustrating adventure!
Hope this helps somebody out somewhere...