I installed xampp with no problems, and then ran the command to set security. Apparently setting security locks you out of the directories even at the file system level, not just via FTP - when I look at the permissions tab of my htaccess folder, for example, the owner is set to the ftp username. I can FTP, but unfortunately no matter what I set my default remote directory to in my FTP program, it takes me inside my htdocs folder and won't let me go up one level.
Because this is a dev server installed on my local machine, I'd really like to be able to move files around at the file system level through my file manager, rather than having to FTP. How can I set the permissions on the folders in question, when my actual Linux username doesn't have write access to the folders?