robertd wrote:First question - should I reload this machine with say the server build of Fedora?
Second question - what should I load next and get running? Apache? MySQL? or PHP?
Third question - can you recommend any good books or websites to start my learning process?
Robert, this is quite a big undertaking. Unfortunately I can't help you much with the Linux questions. Chosing a distribution is a big matter of personal taste. Since you're a newbie, though, I'd seriously recommend picking one of the more "user-friendly" distributions like Debian, SuSE or Mandrake. Look around for recent reviews to see what's easiest to manage for newbies.
Concerning Apache, MySQL, and PHP, if you play your cards right, your Linux distribution will have them preconfigured and preinstalled. If not, the usual sequence to install is Apache first, then PHP, and then MySQL. Read the install docs for each of these to decide your best course of action.
Concerning books and web sites, the best web sites are the official ones. http://httpd.apache.org/
, and http://www.mysql.com/
. I can't recommend a good book, but if I were looking for one I'd just go to Amazon and read the reviews.
I do have one suggestion: Make sure you have a thorough understanding of the basic concepts of PHP before you even look at integrating MySQL with your PHP scripts. Read the PHP documentation all the way through (okay, you can skip some of the function reference, but you shouldn't skip the Array and String functions). Then set aside PHP and learn MySQL. You should know how to do a CREATE TABLE, SELECT (with JOINs), UPDATE, DELETE, and you should at least know what indexes, foreign keys, and normalization are, though starting out an intimate knowledge of those isn't necessary. Once you've got a handle on both PHP and MySQL on their own, you can start putting together database-driven sites. Don't buy a book that starts you on PHP+MySQL in the second chapter. You'd get it eventually, but you'd be in for a lot of frustration along the way.
Anyway, good luck!