Pointlessly? I don't think so. It was just a lengthy learning process. Whenever you're writing scripts to run on other people's hardware (ISP, school, work, etc.), you're really best off coding your sites using the most restrictive of settings (error_reporting = E_ALL, register_globals = off, etc..) to have the greatest chance of working everywhere. Turning off file uploads makes a lot of scripts break; I don't know why the sysadmins left it off. Perhaps the school didn't want you to code up a script that allowed users to upload files that could be run on the server as the webserver user. I dunno. Again, the best thing to do is just ask the sysadmin guys to modify the line in php.ini. That there is NO value there suggests that they forgot to explicitly set it to something; perhaps they'll turn it on.