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For performance reason, I'm wondering if it is worth to compile php 5.3.x myself instead of using the default .deb package.

I know some PHP core developers that say that is worth to do it.

By the way most say that suhosin is almost useless and slow down php by modifying some core functions.

What are you thoughts?

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You will gain very little performance (if any), and you will need to take care of security fixes by your own.

Always use software from official repository, unless you really, really have a good reason to do otherwise.

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+1 Doesn't sound like there's a good reason to compile from source in this case. – xofer Oct 3 '11 at 15:02
    
Agreed. I'd only consider it if I needed a very new feature, or if there was some bug in the distro version that was crippling my app (and those tend to be patched by the maintainers soon enough) – SmallClanger Oct 4 '11 at 8:40

As with many things, It Depends(tm). There's no correct answer to this for every situation.

If you have performance concerns, do the following:

  • Set up a machine with your application
  • Install the default Debian package.
  • Run whatever performance tests you need to run with a repeatable test load.
  • Remove the debian package, install your compiled version and repeat.

This is the only way you'll know if the extra effort is worth it.

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