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when I gave the sudo apt-get install php5 command it responds with and error message "unable to locate php5"

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Could you please post the content of your /etc/apt/sources.list file? – Nicolas Raoul Apr 27 '11 at 10:55

Well it's definitely in there (proof below and here).

oli@tim:~$ apt-cache policy php5
  Installed: (none)
  Candidate: 5.3.3-1ubuntu9.3
  Version table:
     5.3.3-1ubuntu9.3 0
        500 maverick-updates/main i386 Packages
        500 maverick-security/main i386 Packages
     5.3.3-1ubuntu9 0
        500 maverick/main i386 Packages
oli@tim:~$ cat /etc/lsb-release 


  • Is this a new system? Have you run sudo apt-get update yet?

  • Is your /etc/apt/sources.list hopelessly corrupted? At the very least it should have some of the following:

    deb maverick main restricted universe multiverse 
    deb maverick-security main restricted universe multiverse 
    deb maverick-updates main restricted universe multiverse 
    deb maverick partner
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there is probably problem with your repository configuration...

post here output of

more /etc/apt/sources.list

php5 is in "main" repository, so you should have there some variant of

deb maverick main
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You need maverick-security too to ensure you get the security fixes (very important for internet facing services). – Oli Apr 27 '11 at 11:58

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