You need to edit the paths/user/pasword in the includes/config.inc.php file.
most of it is the top couple of lines. Then that should get you running enough to open the control panel.
That's actually how I was able to connect to the "dev" database as I mentioned. When I moved it back to "localhost" it continued giving me the same error. I didn't change the username/password from the original server (yet). I simply added the user/pass (and the applicable grants) to the new mysqld instance.
That hasn't helped, but thanks. (For the record, I actually have tried the root user/pass combo in that file with the same results.)
And also for the record, running phpinfo() in a file gives basically identical results - at least where it matters. The one potential difference is in the mysql.default_socket setting isn't set (no value) in the new server - but I'm pretty sure that can be attributed to not being able to connect to mysql.
Looking at this, it seems that the issue has got to be with mysql or php. Yet, the my.cnf file is the same one from production (aka the port is correct.) I can connect from the command line (and I've changed them a few times) using both the ubbthreads user as well as root, so I doubt it's the user/pass combo. The instance is running in the same OS as apache/php so I don't think it's somehow denying connections based on it being remote.
bind-address is not set in the my.cnf file.
nsswitch.conf is (correctly) set to "files dns" for hosts.
umask is at 22.
I tar'd the htdocs folder, so permissions are the same (I made sure the userid's lined up for apache and mysql.)
Also, we have several domains pointing at our webserver. In our current production setup, the when you hit the forums, it redirects you to a certain domain (also set up in the config.inc.php file). That is not happening here. I get the error regardless of which domain I attempt to utilize and yet never get redirected. However, the sessions directory is registering new sessions whenever I hit the main ubb page.
I dunno - there has got to be some little tidbit I'm missing here (obviously).