Use something other than ubuntu. Although there may be others out there, I'm unaware of any other distro that disables root. Complaining about disabling root is an ubuntu-specific complaint - it doesn't apply to linux in general, let alone unix.
Also, if you don't like using passwords, copy-ssh-id is your friend.
As for apache, I don't play with it much so I can't comment there. It certainly scares me :)