Installation on Unix can be done in one of two ways: you can use a package manager (such as YaST on SUSE Linux, Yum on Red Hat Linux, or URPMI on Mandriva Linux), or you can compile the programs from source code. If you are configuring a production web server, it is highly recommended that you use your package manager so that patching is kept easy. However, if you’re installing PHP onto a local machine for test and programming purposes, you will probably want to compile it yourself to get you extra control.
One major advantage to installing from source code is that you can easily get the latest version of PHP. Many Linux distributions ship only older releases of PHP and Apache in order to ensure the system is stable enough for enterprise use. If you compile from source, you can choose to use an older, more mature release, or the very latest cutting-edge release.