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Binary Versus Compiled From Source Installations - MySQL

This chapter from High Performance MySQL by Jeremy Zawodny and Derek J. Balling. (O'Reilly Media, ISBN: 0-596-00306-4, April 2004) talks about binary distributions, the sections in a configuration file, and some SHOW commands that provide a window into what’s going on inside MySQL. This book is for the MySQL administrator who has the basics down but realizes the need to go further.

  1. Back to Basics
  2. Binary Versus Compiled From Source Installations
  3. MySQL.com Binary Versus Distribution Binary
  4. Configuration Files
  5. File Format
  6. Sample Files
  7. Reconfiguration
  8. The SHOW Commands
By: O'Reilly Media
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June 08, 2004

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There are two ways you can install MySQL. As a novice administrator, you may have simply installed a binary package that had precompiled executables, libraries, and configuration files, and placed those files wherever the maker of the binary package decided they should go.

It’s exceedingly rare for a Windows user to compile his own copy of MySQL. If you’re running MySQL on Windows, feel free to down load your copy from the MySQL web site and skip this discussion.

Alternatively, for any number of reasons, you might have decided to compile the MySQL binaries on your own by downloading a source tarball and configuring the installation to best meet your needs. However, don’t do so lightly. Compiling from source has led to countless hours of pain for some users, mostly due to subtle bugs in their compilers or thread libraries. For this very reason, the standard binaries pro vided by MySQL AB are statically linked. That means they are immune to any bugs in your locally installed libraries.

There aren’t too many places where the issue of “binary versus compiled-from-source” will come into play in the average MySQL tuning regimen, but they do hap pen. For example, in Chapter 10, our advice on chrooting your installation can be used only if every file MySQL needs is brought into a single directory tree, which might not be the case in a binary installation.

For a novice administrator on a simple installation, we recommend using a binary package (such as an RPM) to set up your system. However, once you progress to the point of really needing to tinker with the “guts” of MySQL, you will probably want to quickly go back, change a configure flag, and recompile.

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