So of course this required me to reinstall Slackware, MySQL, and PHP. I have found the Apache bundled with Slackware 10.2 to be ample for my needs so far. So first I ran my pulls script to pull and build all the different MySQL source trees, and installed the six instances I normally operate. So far so good. Then I turned my attention to installing PHP.
The first time I installed PHP (5.1.4) I must have had an extraordinary case of beginner's luck since the install went smoothly and without and problems. That has not been the case since then. The next time I reinstalled PHP 5.1.4 I found that the new MySQL client libraries didn't agree with the PHP build scripts, resulting in unresolved symbols. I had to get MySQL 5.0.16 out of the archive in order to build PHP. And now, hearing that PHP 5.2.0 is out, and resolves several issues, I decided to go with that. I immediately began to encounter issues.
First it doesn't seem to want to generate the libphp5.so file. I have managed to persuade it to, but not reliably or repeatably. The next issue is how it works with MySQL. Linked to the 5.0.32 client libraries, it doesn't seem to want to connect to a 5.0.18 server on Windows 2003, my production server at the moment. So I opted to link it with the 5.1.14 libraries. This connects okay, but gets the "Commands out of sync; you can't run this command now" error when trying to perform more than one query from a connection to MySQL. This is annoying but can be worked around by closing the connection and reopening for each subsequent query.
Then there's the issue of PHP not loading GD, and not being able to recognize any of the image functions. I make a certain usage of these, and it's annoying, not a showstopper but causing cosmetic issues.
I suppose I can fall back to a known working configuration but I like to stay reasonably up-to-date so I am continuing to work these issues. Also it's interesting to see how PHP fares with different versions of the MySQL client library.