I have now officially spent way too many hours trying to get PHP to talk to MySQL. I've read several "how to" (example) sites and I still get a bunch of errors that state that my extensions (which aren't on by default upon installation) can't be found. I've installed and uninstalled several times.... if I can't get the most simplistic things to run on an operating system I've very familiarity with, this exercise does not give me a warm fuzzy feeling about launching this thing on a Linux box. So I decided to go with WAMP.
For you unfamiliar with this, WAMP stands for Windows Apache, MySQL and PHP. It installs very nicely into a directory called wamp off the root of my C drive and with the exception of having to modify the httpd.conf file (I want Apache to run off port 8080 since I'm still running IIS on this box) it was ready to go. The only thing missing was the MySQL GUI tools which I prefer over SQLiteManager that comes bundled with WAMP.
Next I'm going to tackle Smarty and Zend Framework.