A question came up on the mailing list about root access.....
Mediawiki uses a web installation. You don't need root access.
You unpack the files into your web directory, rename the directory, change the permissions on the config directory, surf to the config file, complete the form, click install, move LocalSettings.php up one level, and remove the config directory.
You need a MySQL database and a few other things.
However, my installation of PHP had a memory limit of 8MB and the installation originally crashed. Someone with root access (me) had to change a paramenter in /etc/php.ini and reboot the web server.