Getting rid of this ftp problem (see my previous post about updating WordPress) was harder than I thought. The answer was right in front of me, though. IF I had bothered to read the readme file rather than abusing Google, that is.
- Make sure that your wp-content folder and its contents use www-data:www-data for <user>:<group>.
- Copy the actual plugins and themes from /usr/share/wordpress/wpcontents to your wp-content rather than using the symlinks.
- Add this to your WP config file in /etc/wordpress:
define( ‘FS_METHOD’, ‘direct’ );
This is a LOT better than using ftp or uploading plugins and themes manually.