I have root access in ssh to my install (and other wp install working) so im not sure what i missed...
installing plugins through the wp-admin interface, it wants me to input ftp. i remember this from before, a long time ago.
anyway, i tried already various things like chown and chgrp everything to the user. added user to www-data group chown'ed to www-data chmod 755 (even 777 the plugins dir to check!)
nothing works! what did i miss?