A friend of mine was installing Joomla on his 1&1 hosting account, and the FTP transfer was taking forever. I told him I could probably write a script, upload it, and run it and have Joomla ready to be installed faster than his FTP transfer would take. Sure enough, it worked. Here's how:
First, I created a file for him to upload to his server named 'getjoom.php':
<?php echo shell_exec( 'wget http://joomlacode.org/gf/download/frsrelease/10547/41305/Joomla_1.5.12-Stable-Full_Package.zip' ); echo shell_exec( 'unzip Joomla_1.5.12-Stable-Full_Package.zip' ); ?>
Then, I had him ran the script by visting http://friendsite/getjoom.php, which showed me a bunch of text about extracting the installer. After deleting getjoom.php through FTP, he then went about doing the install way sooner than he would have otherwise.