PHP - Setting up JSON support for PHP on Ubuntu

By Jack Szwergold • October 13, 2015

These were notes from an attempt to get JSON support included for a custom compiled version of PHP 5.1.6. Doesn’t seem to work as expected. Notes are here for reference just in case I need to revisit this process at some point.

Get the Pear json-1.2.1.tgz archive.

First, install JSON via Pecl like this:

sudo pecl install json

You might get a warning that reads like this:

 WARNING: "pear/json" is deprecated in favor of "channel://"

Just ignore it. The warning is correct in that newer version of PHP have JSON support built-in, but we are dealing with adding JSON support to an ancient version of PHP so this is what we got to do.

Finding where the Pear json-1.2.1.tgz archive was downloaded to.

Now the tricky part is finding the exact path the json-1.2.1.tgz. In some cases it will be installed in a directory like this:


In others it will be installed in a directory like this:


Note the php5-yIoy8f/ directory name is a hash so it might change on each install. So it’s sometimes best to just run a find command like this to find the full path of the file:

find /build -type f -name "json-1.2.1.tgz"

If you forget find syntax like I do sometimes, this combo command with output piped to grep works just as well:

find /build | grep json-1.2.1.tgz

Or you can just update the locate database like this:

sudo updatedb

And the just run this command:


Which would return something like this:


So just go into that directory like this and follow the rest of the steps:

cd /build/php5-yIoy8f/php5-5.3.10/pear-build-download/

Compiling and installing the extension.

Next, decompress the archive like this:

sudo tar -xvf ./json-1.2.1.tgz

Now go into the decompressed directory:

cd json-1.2.1

Run the phpize command on the code like this:

sudo /opt/php516-gd/bin/phpize json

Run this configure command:

sudo ./configure

Once the configure process completes, run make:

sudo make

Finally install it by running sudo make install:

sudo make install