I just compiled php 5.1.2 following (mostly) the instructions in the dreamhost wiki.
The executable size is about 20 MB; is this a normal size ? (Looks a bit too big to me)
It’s about right. Mine’s just around 17 megs. PHP5.0 was like 8 or 9 megs in size.
The default build will include debugging information in the executable. You can remove it and reduce the size by running
strip --strip-all php.cgi
thanks, now it’s down to 6 MB