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As our development projects expand we're finding we often need newer versions of PHP, Python, Ruby, etc than are provided by Red Hat. What are others at NU doing to solve this problem? There doesn't appear to be a great universal solution. We've started looking at Red Hat Software Collections, which has a slightly awkward implementation but seems to be workable. I've heard of other cases where people have given up on on RHEL and use new versions of Ubuntu. We have to balance providing access to modern libraries but using a stable OS in a production environment.

From our understanding this adds "newer" packages in /opt. How does one balance stability with the need to use newer features found in PHP 5.5?

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You can use the Remi repository (http://rpms.famillecollet.com/enterprise/7/) or the Red Hat Software Collections (somewhat harder to configure/enable, but more "trusty" as they directly come from Red Hat).

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    Remi is also a Red Hat employee and packages the "official" PHP packages for RHEL. You will not have a problem with his repo. I've been recommending it for years. – Michael Hampton May 21 '15 at 19:44
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Red Hat Software Collections have been created specifically to address this issue. Give it a try, it is not that hard. Yes, it adds some packages in /opt to avoid conflits or overwrites. To install packages from RHSC, you first enable the collection, then you can do a yum search php. You then install the package that you want. If it's the only php package that is installed, I think you can simply reload apache and it will work.

The doc is here: RHSCL documentation but here are the commands to enable the collections:

RHEL6, RHN Classic: rhn-channel --add --channel=rhel-x86_64-server-6-rhscl-1

RHEL6, Subscription manager: subscription-manager repos --enable rhel-server-rhscl-6-rpms

RHEL7: subscription-manager repos --enable rhel-server-rhscl-7-rpms

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The IUS project provides RPMs for newer versions of select software (such as PHP, MySQL, and Python) for RHEL and CentOS.

After adding the repo, you can install PHP 5.5 FPM by running this command:

yum install php55u-fpm

Alternatively if you want to use mod_php you can run this command:

yum install php55u

This packages conflict with and provide their stock equivalents, so you have to uninstall all stock PHP packages first, or remove/install in a single transaction using yum shell or yum replace. This is significantly different than the approach Software Collections uses. IUS has a comparison page to explain the differences in greater detail.

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