So it seems there are a few choices to get rid of PHP 5.1.6 that comes with RHEL5. Why get rid of it? Because I want to use a version of PHP that was released in the last few months or even year and not something that is a few years old and relies on the vendor to backport security fixes into a branch that is officially dead by the parent project. The obvious choice would be the RH AppStack. At a reasonable price it would be an easy sell to my customers. However the price is far from reasonable if you do not care to also get a license and support for JBoss in the bundle. So I guess if I want to still sound all enterprisey it seems I have two choices: Oracle RPM's or Zend Server. I have not really looked at pricing of the support options there. Obviously its tricky to introduce yet another support provider into the mix, since sysadmins love that "one throat to choke", but if the pricing is competitive enough it could work. I guess I will need to sit down and give the two a whirl one of these days. If anyone is in the same situation or better yet managed to get out .. please let me know in a comment.
Why not just build from source? What real value would using someone else's RPMs give you?
There's a third choice: Sun is offering the Sun GlassFish WebStack which has a recent PHP 5.2 for RHEL 3 (and, of course, Solaris) the download is free, so you can check whether the configuration fits your needs and support contracts are available. See http://sun.com/webstack Especially if your customer has already service contracts with Sun it might be worth to take a look. ;-)
I should have clarified the issue. The client insists on using packages that are supported either externally or they internally charge the internal projects a bundle for supporting it themselves.
I just spoke with Chris on IRC and it seems that they do not offer any support for these PHP RPM's even though Oracle does sell support for their own RHEL distro (which however includes the same old antique PHP RPMs). So this leaves Zend as the only other option until RH comes to their senses and offers a LAMPstack as an alternative to the Appstack.
I assume Johannes means RHEL5 .. RHEL3 is uhm quite dated ..
I actually have the same problem with our servers administrator. He insists on having packages instead of compiling from source. But it's completely crazy to wait for RHEL to update their RPMs.
CentOS rebuilds the RH AppStack: http://wiki.centos.org/AdditionalResources/Repositories, see the testing repository. A final version should happen soon after CentOS 5.3 is released. For support options, ask Karanbir Singh directly, probably an arrangement might be possible.
The point of using vendor-provided packages instead of compiling from source is that in case things get b0rken you have a throat to choke. That's very attractive from large corp's point of view.
The repo from "Remi" provides updates packages, even including suhosin (separate package) etc. Those packages are available for rhel/centos 4, 5 ... and even Fedora Core back until version 4. They work fine, are updated regularly etc. Also Remi is an active contributor to the Fedora Project etc.
The pricing for Zend Server should be up on the site *very* soon. I think ultimately it will come down to your client's requirements. Zend is providing a pretty long neck to choke with Server. :)