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Seek advice for a new project

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http://www.linuxquestions.org – I'm thinking of a web based app that will monitor temps and values fed in from a data acquisition device but am seeking advice on what to use to produce the web page would php be powerful enough? The app will also have to have access to a shell for scripting, I know thats a security risk but it will not be in an exposed env. The web page will have a series of lcd readouts displaying the aquired data refresh rates will probably be around 5 seconds along with control buttons to turn on and off values. Storing data in a mysql database for statistical reports would be needed eventually. Ubuntu 9.10 will be the os. Is python easily integrated into apache? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks (HowTos)