I find it sometimes useful and easy to install the PHP packages using PEAR (PHP Extension and Application Repository) than to install them manually. I thought of posting the procedure on how to install Pear Installer and also how to install pear packages in Debian as a reminder to myself and someone like you might find it useful.
The commands are tested in Debian Lenny and found working fine. If not, Please post a comment along with the error message. The same commands will work fine in Ubuntu also.
To install the Pear Installer, run the following command in terminal,
sudo apt-get install php-pear
The command should install the PHP Pear Package installer in your system. After this, Installing pear packages from repository will be very easy in no time.
You can check for packages available in the repository in the Pear Packages Page.
PEAR Package Installation
Lets say you want to install XML Serializer from this page. I find this package quite useful when I want to convert XML to Json via PHP Array or vice versa. To install the package, Just issue this command in your command line.
sudo pear install XML_Serializer
If your system throws up with some errors complaining about the beta version not supported like shown below,
Failed to download pear/XML_Serializer within preferred state "stable", latest release is version 0.X.X, stability "beta", use "channel://pear.php.net/XML_Serializer-0.X.X" to install Cannot initialize 'channel://pear.php.net/XML_Serializer', invalid or missing package file Package "channel://pear.php.net/XML_Serializer" is not valid install failed
You just need to override the setting by mentioning the version which you want to install. Just mention the beta version to override the system.
sudo pear install XML_Serializer-beta
Similar to this, you can install any pear packages available in the PEAR repository in matter of seconds with little to no trouble shooting and configurations.
UnInstall Pear Packages
In case you want to uninstall a pear package, you can issue the following command in the terminal,
sudo pear uninstall [package name] sudo pear uninstall XML_Serializer-beta
Let me know if you find this useful or if I have missed something.