I need a LAMP platform with PHP 5.1 or better to do some SalesForce.com integration testing. These should be a dime a dozen on VMWare's appliance directory, I thought, so I went hunting. After trying a SUSE distro and an Ubuntu distro that didn't quite fit the bill, I decided to try a smaller, dedicated LAMP distro.
I grabbed a VM from rPath first. I've used their SugarCRM appliance in the past, and I'd been pretty happy with that, so I thought they'd be a great place to start. But I couldn't quite get the thing to work. I could start it up, and there was a web site and even an admin site, but I couldn't get FTP to work. It looked like it had been configured for a user that the deamon couldn't find anymore. The VM also had SMB installed, but I couldn't get that to work either.
Obviously, I'm not a Linux guru, though I can find my way around to most of the config files, so I looked for things that were obviously messed up for the SMB and VSFTP services, but I came up empty.
Attempt number two was a VM from VirtualAppliances.net (no longer available). Unzip, start it up, and while it boots, I read the docs and see that it's got SMB installed, too. One better, it indicates a user and password to use, and they've thoughtfully set up a share to the www directory already. So when the OS was booted, I open the SMB share, and it works - first time. I edit a little php file to run phpinfo(), save it, and run it - and it works like a charm.
I'm sure that by the time I'm done, I'll find something that I wish these guys had done better, but right now, I'm going to bask in the glow of a great out-of-the-box experience from VirtualAppliances.
Well done, gentlemen!