php.ini hacks: –with-config-file-scan-dir and ini variable expansion

I whipped up a quick 3-minute presentation entitled php.ini hacks for today’s PHP Lightning Talks session at the O’Reilly Open Source Convention. It demonstrates two features:

  1. The --with-config-file-scan-dir option to ./configure
  2. ini variable expansion (“open_basedir = ${open_basedir}:/tmp“)

Why? Because George and Laura asked me to, and this is all I could think of with 20 minutes notice. And because the ini variable expansion feature isn’t documented anywhere on the website except for a passing reference in the PHP 5 ChangeLog:

Added possibility to access INI variables from within .ini file. (Andrei)

Tomorrow I’ll be giving a talk entitled Hacking Apache HTTP Server at Yahoo! It’s a repeat performance of the well-attended presentation I gave at ApacheCon 2005.

1 thought on “php.ini hacks: –with-config-file-scan-dir and ini variable expansion

  1. Frank Ruscica


    How are you? I’m Frank Ruscica. I’m writing because:

    * I have developed a business plan that details how Yahoo can dramatically increase its ad revenue by establishing a popular online market for customized

    education and career services (CECS) (Previous versions of the plan were praised effusively by executives at Microsoft and

    * I have just applied for a Media Strategy Analyst position at Yahoo that is a good fit for someone with a plan and background like mine

    * An employee referral often improves an applicant’s chances (the identifier for

    the position is below)

    An adaptation of my business plan is online at The site also contains information about my background.

    Here’s an overview of the plan:

    Information is the lifeblood of any market.

    The more popular an online market gets, then, the more opportunities there are to profit from online media (including media that is generated by software, and media that is created by market participants at a website owned by the


    Advertisers love media that appeals to the young and upwardly mobile.

    The online markets that will create the most lucrative media opportunities, then, are markets that help the young to be upwardly mobile.

    The biggest such market will be the market for CECS.

    The best way to establish a popular CECS market is to first establish and popularize a transparent online market for the advertisement spaces on

    single-creator media (e.g., blogs, podcasts). (A transparent market is one wherein all prices are publicly known.)

    The latter market will also help the young to be upwardly mobile.

    Both markets, then, will give rise to a lot of media that is very attractive to advertisers.

    Better still, the markets will also generate revenue from transactions.

    Three keys to popularizing the aforesaid ad-space market are:

    * opening the market to all media producers

    * augmenting the market’s website with features that facilitate the production

    and distribution of media

    * using the site to create branded media that:

    * increases awareness of the markets

    * showcases participants in the markets

    * generates profits

    This media can generate significant profits, not least because:

    * the nucleus accumbens — the part of the brain that gives rise to psychological addiction — is fired by increased prospects of financial gain

    * America is ideally suited to gain many good jobs from the growth of the CECS industry

    These profits will become increasingly important as sites like collapse the ad-sale margins of sites that host user-created media.

    Maximizing these profits on a risk-adjusted basis requires:

    * managing a portfolio of media properties and making phased investments in production value

    * aligning incentives with a broadcast TV network, so shows that prove popular online and/or through video-on-demand can expeditiously gain the broadest



    Yahoo can easily align incentives with a broadcast TV network, of course.

    So Yahoo is well positioned to establish a popular CECS market.

    Yahoo’s first steps toward this end should be to recruit the right lead architects for the most scarce and valuable parts of a ‘1.0’ maker of the

    aforesaid ad-space market, which should be hosted at

    The most valuable parts are:

    * the sitcom — Land of OpportuniTV — that is the optimal centerpiece of the markets-maker’s ‘1.0’ media portfolio

    * the best software tools for rapidly developing software applications for searching online social/professional networks (e.g., blog networks)

    I have developed the premise for Land of OpportuniTV, and the treatment (i.e., detailed outline) of the pilot episode, and both designs are as provably optimal as such designs can be. (My submission to the New York TV Festival’s “one-minute pitch” competition is online at

    Details about the pitch competition are online at

    My colleague David Warren is an ACM Fellow computer scientist who has spent over fifteen years developing the software engine that is the ideal foundation for the aforesaid search tools.

    So if Yahoo hires me, I will recruit David, and we will be off to the races 🙂

    As a first step, I applied for the aforesaid Media Strategy Analyst position (Job No. RX1000011893).

    I don’t know how you can recommend me for this position, but please let me know if I can help you to do so.

    Thanks kindly for any consideration you can extend. Of course, feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, etc.

    Best regards,

    Frank Ruscica

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