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Our development server is running Ubuntu with PHP 5.2.14. I need PHP 5.3 to try out the Behat library. How can I install PHP 5.3 to satisfy Behat, but keep PHP 5.2.14 as the default PHP version (so our web apps doesn't break)?

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Are you open to running a second apache instance on that system, or are you expecting to load two different versions of PHP into a single instance of apache? – MadHatter Oct 21 '10 at 6:26
I'm open to the idea. – Andrew Oct 21 '10 at 19:41

just install it into your home directory in a unique path...e.g.

./configure --prefix=/home/you/php-testing

now do make && make install, and then add a new high-numbered port listener for apache which uses the locally installed php libs

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Hi brad. I did the first part, but how can I the "add a new high-numbered port listener for apache which uses the locally installed php libs". Please extend your answer or point to me a tutorial that will solve my problem. Thx a lot. I'm using Fedora 17. – GarouDan Aug 28 '12 at 19:31

I would suggest running a virtual ubuntu lucid (10.10) with the newer PHP 5.3 Version in it. Use KVM with virt-manager or just virsh via libvirt-bin package. This seems much easier to me than to self-compile and install a php5.3 in your productiv ubuntu 10.4 Webserver. (I didn`t found a php5.3 in the backports)

The big advantage is the much nicer upgrade option - I love virtual machines for this. I take a snapshot and run the machine local. When the upgrade is fine, I do it on the production machine.

A second option could be to download the source-package of php5.3 from Ubuntu 10.10, change the build-prefix, saisy the build-dependencies and change the debian/control file (package collisions!). This is a hack and you will have problems on upgrade. Ok, If you are firm with ubuntu/debian package management you could master it.

But I would strongly suggest to run a second (virtual) webserver.

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Couple years ago I wrote a short how-to on running both PHP4 and PHP5 on Windows:

Just change the Windows paths to Unix and modify the version numbers and it should work.

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Use an usb stick with portable apps from and XAMPP. So you have a complete separated test environment.

After inserting the stick it will load the portableapps menu. you'll find the xamp startprogramm where you have simple start/stop buttons for apache and mysql.

You can find details at

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Can you elaborate a bit, and explain how it would be done? – Andrew Nov 2 '10 at 15:36

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