Once you get through the build process, there's one good way to test
your install (besides creating a boring little "Hello World" script): Use
the phpinfo() function. Open a text editor and type this:
<? phpinfo() ?>
And that's it! Save this file as phpinfo.php, and put it in Apache's
document root (htdocs), then fire up your Web browser and go to "http://localhost/phpinfo.php," where
you should see a long page of variables and their values. The phpinfo()
function automatically produces this page, which shows you what sorts of
things are installed, your environment, your settings and so on.
A lot of configuration options can be controlled by modifying the
php.ini file, usually located in /usr/local/lib (the phpinfo() results will
tell you the path). Take a gander at it, and tweak anything you feel needs
tweaking. You may not ever have to touch a thing in this file, but you
should know where it is and what it does.
The whole process is pretty pain-free: I've never had any installation
or configuration issues unless I was installing some exotic combination of
things, and even then, the errors were always mine (bad typing, forgetting
to run ldconfig, that sort of thing). Everybody's machine is different,
however, especially in the Linux/Unix world, with slightly different
flavors of operating systems and compilers. If your installation blows up
in your face, check the PHP Manual or mailing list
archives. Chances are, someone's been through the same problem and
will be happy to help you out. If you do send a message to php-install, be
sure to send as much information as you can; "It doesn't work" will not
garner many responses, but something like "I'm attempting to install
php-4.0.3 on SuSE 6.4 and it keeps complaining that somelib.so can't be
found" will fetch many.
The last section of this tutorial for non-Windows users will show you
the wonderful world of DSOs, in action. You'll learn the easy way to
modify your PHP installation, simply by building a new module.