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Sybase-PHP-Apache mini-HOWTO

Tyson Lloyd Thwaites
Revision History                                                             
Revision 1.3           2001-07-11            Revised by: TLT                 
Fixed example PHP script.                                                    
Revision 1.2           2001-06-13            Revised by: TLT                 
Shane Gelven pointed out an error in the init script paths.                  
Revision 1.1           2001-05-29            Revised by: TLT                 
Updated environment configuration section, changed HOWTO name.               

This HOWTO explains how to set up a Linux machine to run an Apache web server
using PHP to access a Sybase-ASE database.

Table of Contents
1. Copyright and License
2. Install Linux
3. Install Sybase
4. Configure Environment
    4.1. Preconfigure Apache
5. Install PHP
6. Install Apache
7. Test the System
8. Post Install Tasks

1. Copyright and License

This document is copyright 2001 by Tyson Lloyd Thwaites, and is released
under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, which is hereby
incorporated by reference. Send feedback to

2. Install Linux

This howto assumes you have already installed a working Linux system. This
howto is based on a Redhat 6.2 system. I would appreciate any feedback on
setting this up on other distros.

The first thing you will have to do is uninstall the apache and mod_php rpms.
Try the following:
    # rpm -e apache                                                          
    # rpm -e httpd                                                           
    # rpm -e mod_php                                                         
    # rpm -e php                                                             

That should get rid of them. Just to be sure, run this:
    # rpm -qa | less                                                         

and check that there is nothing to do with Apache or PHP left on you system.

3. Install Sybase

Download the Sybase-ASE files from [] Sybase-ASE is free for production. This howto
refers to that version.

First, install the Sybase RPMS as root:
    # rpm -ivh sybase-ase-11_0_3_3-6_i386.rpm                                
    # rpm -ivh sybase-doc-11_0_3_3-6_i386.rpm                                
    # rpm -ivh sybase-ocsd-10_0_4-6_i386.rpm                                 

For information on how to configure Sybase, read the instructions in the file
/opt/sybase/doc/howto/howto-ase-quickstart.html. This document is very good,
so we shouldn't need any more information here.

    Hint: After you have installed the sample database and run a select
    against it, you can stop following the instructions. The rest of the
    howto goes on to uninstall the sample database, but we want to keep it
    for testing later.
    NOTE: Some people have reported problems with the way the Sybase init
    scripts try to guess the Sybase directory. If you see the following
        export: sybase-ase- not a legal variable name               
    when trying to run, then you need to edit the Open the script and find the following lines (around line
    # export SYBASE=/opt/sybase                                              
    export SYBASE=`rpm -q --queryformat \                                    
                    '%{installprefix}\n' sybase-ase-`                
    Change these lines so they look like this:
    export SYBASE=/opt/sybase                                                
    #export SYBASE=`rpm -q --queryformat \                                   
    #               '%{installprefix}\n' sybase-ase-`                
    This hardcodes the SYBASE path to /opt/sybase. If you did install Sybase
    somewhere non-standard and you get this error, you will have to change
    this path to point to your Sybase directory.
4. Configure Environment

After installing Sybase, you need to setup the Linux environment in order to
allow clients to connect to the dataserver.

The first thing we need to do is to set certain environment variables in /etc
/profile. Open /etc/profile as super user and insert the following lines:
    export SYBASE=/opt/sybase                                                
    export SYBPLATFORM=linux                                                 
    export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$SYBASE/lib                                       
    export LC_ALL=default                                                    
    export PATH="$SYBASE/bin:$PATH"                                          
    export DSQUERY=SYBASE                                                    

Next you need to change to permissions of the Sybase directory. This fixes
some problems where PHP is unable to connect to the Sybase server. Run the
following command as super user:
chown -R sybase:sybase /opt/sybase                                           

To test whether your Sybase environment works, type the following:
    # su - nobody                                                            
    $ isql -Usa -P                                                           
    1> sp_helpdb                                                             
    2> go                                                                    

You should see a list of databases. To test whether you can use the sample
datebase, now type:
    1> use pubs2                                                             
    2> go                                                                    
    1> select * from titles                                                  
    2> go                                                                    

If you a list, you have sucessfully set up Sybase.

    NOTE: You may need to do the following in order for PHP to be able to
    access Sybase. Edit the file /opt/sybase/install/rc.sybase and remove the
    line that says:
        unset LANG; unset LC_ALL; \                                          
    I don't know why that line is there, but it can stuff things up.
    NOTE: Some people have reported problems with the way the Sybase init
    scripts try to guess the Sybase directory. If you see the following
    when trying to run or rc.sybase, then you need to change   
You may also want to add sybase to the list of services to run at boot time.
To do this execute the following commands:
    # ln -s /opt/sybase/install/rc.sybase /etc/rc.d/init.d/sybase            
    # ln -s /etc/rc.d/init.d/sybase /etc/rc.d/rc3.d/S15sybase                
    # ln -s /etc/rc.d/init.d/sybase /etc/rc.d/rc3.d/K15sybase                

Now Sybase will start whenever you boot into runlevel 3.

    NOTE: The note for
4.1. Preconfigure Apache

Download and unpack the latest Apache distribution. In the Apache directory
issue the following command:
    # ./configure --prefix=/usr/local/apache                                 

I think the 'prefix' value specifies where you want to store your html files;
I just set it to the same as the apache install directory, where Apache will
put its files when you run 'make install'.

5. Install PHP

Download the latest PHP distribution and unpack it.

Change to the php directory and run the configure script. You need to pass
certains options to the script. To enable PHP access Sybase, you need 
--with-sybase-ct. You will also need to specify the web server interface to
use; in our case, this is Apache, so we use --with-apache To build a CGI
version of PHP, (which is also very useful as a shell scripting tool), just
leave out the --with-apache.

Here is a complete configure script with the above two options, as well as a
number of other options that are useful.
    # ./configure --with-apache=../apache_1.3.19                             
      --with-sybase-ct=/opt/sybase --enable-bcmath --enable-calendar         
      --enable-ctype --enable-exif --enable-ftp --enable-gd-imgstrttf        
      --with-gd --enable-trans-sid --enable-shmop --enable-sockets           
      --enable-sysvsem --enable-sysvshm --enable-wddx                        

You will need to change to apache path to wherever you unpacked your apache

If the configure scripts completes successfully, you can then proceed:
    # make && make install                                                   

PHP should compile without any hitches. After it has installed, you need to
install the php.ini file:
    # cp php.ini-optimized /usr/local/lib/php.ini                            

Now we need to change a few things in /usr/local/lib/php.ini. Set the
following parameters to the ones specified below:
    magic_quotes_sybase = on                                                 
    sybct.min_server_severity = 11                                           
    sybct.min_client_severity = 11                                           

I also like to set the following:
    register_globals = on                                                    

You have now completed the PHP installation.

6. Install Apache

Now cd back into the apache unpack directory. Issue the following commmands:
    # ./configure --activate-module=src/modules/php4/libphp4.a               
    # make && make install                                                   

This should proceed without any problems. When its done, edit the file /usr/
local/apache/conf/httpd.conf and uncomment the following line:
    AddType application/x-httpd-php .php                                     

This tells apache to allow PHP to process files with a .php extension. You
may also want to add some other extensions to the end of this line, eg:
    AddType application/x-httpd-php .php .php3 .html .htm                    

You now have all the software you need and are ready to test your system.

7. Test the System

First, make sure Apache and Sybase are started:
    # /usr/local/apache/bin/apachectl start                                  
    # /opt/sybase/install/rc.sybase start                                    

Now go to the directory /usr/local/apache/htdocs. Create a file called
test.php and insert the following contents:
                $con = sybase_connect("SYBASE", "sa", "");                   
                $qry = sybase_query("select * from titles", $con);           
                echo sybase_result($qry, 1, 1);                              

Save the file and then access the following URL in your browser:

If you see some text, then congratulations! You have a complete Linux/Apache/
PHP/Sybase-ASE installation. If not...well, there you go. Make sure you
actually have installed the pubs2 database. If you are not sure, try running:
        # isql -Usa -P < /opt/sybase/scripts/installpubs2                    

[] Email me if you have any problems,
corrections (please!) or additions, but please do not email me unless you
have tried everything in this howto! Thanks.

8. Post Install Tasks

After you have a working system, first of all, breath a deep sigh of
satisfaction. (I also suggest eating something.) After this, there are a few
post-install tasks you should perform.

The FIRST thing you should do is change the password for the 'sa' user. By
default this password is blank. To set a password for sa, type the following
in isql:
        1> sp_password null, 'new_pass123', 'sa'                             
        2> go                                                                

This will set the password. You will now need to pass this as a parameter to
sybase_connect. You will also need to specify it when starting isql, which
you can do by using the '-P' switch.

    NOTE: Once you have ste a password, you cannot unset it. (Sybase requires
    a minumum of six characters in a password, so '' won't be accepted.)
You also may wish to install the Windows client tools. These can be found on
a CD if you bought a cope of ASE from Sybase. Otherwise, if you are using the
free version, you can download a demo of ASE 12.0 for NT, and only
install the 'ASE Plugin for Sybase Central', 'ASE ODBC Driver' and 'Sybase
Central' components.

    : I am not sure of the licensing issues involved in using the client
    tools if you haven't purchased ASE. Although I don't think it would be a
    problem, you should contact Sybase directly if you want to be sure.
I am open to more hints to put in this section.

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