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MySQL.com Binary Versus Distribution Binary - 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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One thing to keep in mind is that there are a number of sources for binary packages, and nearly all of them set up the system differently.

For example, you can download the binary installation from the MySQL.com web site. You can also install the binary distribution included by your Linux distribution vendor, or the one you grabbed from the FreeBSD ports collection. Finally, you can down load a binary for a platform that isn’t officially supported, but on which someone is keeping a MySQL version current, such as the Amiga architecture. * In any of these cases, you will end up with different directory layouts, compilation options, etc.

(* Note: At the time that sentence was written, it was entirely theoretical: the thinking was “I’m not aware of anything, but surely someone will do that!” In researching it, we found that MySQL for Amiga was, indeed, happening. For those who read German, there’s an article from Amiga Magazine at http://www.amiga-magazin.de/magazin/a08-01/mysql/ that describes how to do it, and a mailing list at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Amiga_MySql/ for people working on it as well.)

If you use the binary distributions from anyone other than MySQL AB, your support options may be significantly decreased, simply by virtue of having limited yourself to seeking help from those who use that particular distribution. Even a question as sim ple as, “Where is the my.cnf file located on the FreeBSD port of MySQL?” is going to limit those who can respond to two groups: those who have run MySQL using the FreeBSD port, and those on the mailing list or newsgroup, etc. who have encoun tered that question before. On the plus side, if your distribution has automated secu rity announcements and updates, you probably never need to worry about patching MySQL if a security flaw is discovered.

Many binary distributors of MySQL mold it to fit “their” layout. For example, the Debian distribution places the config files in /etc/mysql/ , some language-specific files in /usr/share/mysql/ , the executables directly into /usr/bin/ , etc. It’s not “the Debian way” to segregate an application’s binaries; it incorporates them into the system as a whole. Likewise, in those places it does incorporate them, it does so in what may seem like an odd manner. For instance, you might expect config files to go directly into /etc/ , but instead they get put in /etc/mysql/ . It can be confusing if you’re trying to find everything you need to modify, or if you’re trying to later convert from one type of installation to the other.

The MySQL.com-supplied tarball binary packages, however, behave more like the source-compilation process. All the files—configuration files, libraries, executables, and the database files themselves—end up in a single directory tree, created specifi cally for the MySQL install. This is typically /usr/local/mysql , but it can be altered as needed at installation time. Because this behavior is much the same as a source-com-piled installation, the available support from the MySQL community is much greater. It also makes things easier if you decide later to instead use a MySQL instal lation you compile from source.

On the other hand, the MySQL-supplied binary packages that are distributed using package-management formats such as RPM are laid out similarly to the format of the system they are designed for. For example, the RPM installation you get from MySQL.com will have its files laid out similarly to the Red Hat-supplied RPM. This is so because it’s not uncommon for a Linux distribution to ship an RPM that hasn’t been thoroughly tested and is broken in fairly serious ways. The RPM files MySQL. com distributes are intended as upgrade paths for users with such a problem so they can have “just what they have now, but it works.”

Because of that, if you’re going to install a binary you download from MySQL.com, we highly recommend using the tarball formatted files. They will yield the familiar directory structure the average MySQL administrator is used to seeing.

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