troubleshooting Question

Understanding PHP extensions

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thebuckst0pFlag for United States of America asked on
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I'm a little confused about PHP extensions like Pear and PECL. There seem to be two types of extensions in general, those called with "extension=" statements in php.ini and included PHP files. In Windows the former seems to be DLL files, and in Linux SO files.
Here's the issue I encountered: I have a Windows server with the Pear php_http.dll extension loaded in php.ini. I recently set up a Linux server and it's missing the HTTP extension (which includes the http_redirect function that I need). So I spent hours trying to figure out how to install the equivalent of php_http.dll for Linux. I couldn't find anywhere. I can run the shell command "pecl install pecl_http" and that compiles an HTTP.php file, which includes the function HTTP::redirect. So I'm using that now instead of http_redirect. But why are some compiled extensions and others php files? How do I get the equivalent of php_http.dll for Linux?
Any help in understanding this would be most appreciated. Thank you.
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