Congratulations, Ubuntu!

Today, we congratulate our friends at Ubuntu on a great new release, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. As you can see in Mark Shuttleworth’s posting on Google+ from a few weeks back, MySQL has been cooperating closely with the Debian and Ubuntu communities to make sure that MySQL works very well on these platforms, and Ubuntu 14.04 bears the first fruits of those efforts.

Out of the gates, Ubuntu 14.04 comes with MySQL 5.5.35 as default, while 5.6.16 is available in the Ubuntu Universe repository. So whatever your MySQL preference – the mature and battle hardened 5.5 or the newer, richer and better performing 5.6 – Ubuntu 14.04 has what you need.

Going forward, Ubuntu is set to offer a great MySQL experience. Traditionally, Linux distros have tended to stay with a specific version of key components such as MySQL for a long time in order to avoid hitting possible issues introduced in newer versions. However, Ubuntu has recently introduced an approval process that will allow “trusted” software to get updated more often, and MySQL is now on that list of trusted products. Basically, Ubuntu has reviewed our development and QA processes and policies and concluded that upgrading to new versions of MySQL can be assumed to be safe. For Ubuntu users, this means that the distro repos should always have a recent version of MySQL available.

With 14.04 out and about, we really look forward to continuing our fruitful collaboration with the Debian and Ubuntu communities. We want to get MySQL 5.6 into Debian stable soon, and we think it would be natural to roll over to 5.6 as the default MySQL in Ubuntu 14.10. And we have some other good stuff in store for Debian and Ubuntu users pretty soon…

Repos and Distros: Upstream and Downstream

When we launched the official MySQL repos back in October, we wanted to achieve a number of things:

First, we closed a gaping hole in our distribution on Linux. Some Linux distros do not ship all the MySQL products, and not everyone is able to or always wants to use the distro packages. And the distros naturally focus on stable releases, while some users want to test development releases from us. Second, this represented a good opportunity to get off our behinds and finally modernize our Linux packaging. And last, but definitely not least, we would put ourselves in the same position as those valuable volunteers that take our products and integrate and maintain them in the Linux distros.

When you’re upstream, you can easily lapse into a mode where you stop listening properly to those who sit downstream and have to process what you’re releasing. There will always be some amount of difference in priorities and opinions between upstream and downstream, but putting ourselves downstream and in that sense having to “eat our own dogfood” turned out to be very educational and highly useful.

This change in perspective made it easier for us to understand many of the important pain points of the distros. It quickly became clear to us that a good deal of those pain points could be fairly easily addressed, and in some of the more difficult cases, the folks involved in the repo project have acted as lobbyists internally in order to have Engineering priorities changed so we could fix some of the bigger things.

Below, I will go into some more detail on what we are doing and what we have accomplished in the Debian and Ubuntu communities, let me first just say that we hope that we are being considered useful citizens in the different distro communities, and that distro maintainers of MySQL products see us an approachable and responsive upstream. And if we aren’t, let us know!

Debian and Ubuntu

Over the last couple of weeks, we have seen our new experience and efforts bearing fruit in Debian and Ubuntu. Since late fall last year, release engineers and developers from the MySQL team have been working with the Debian and Ubuntu community to bring MySQL 5.6 into both distros. Two weeks ago, Ubuntu bug #1256931 (“please include MySQL 5.6″) got closed, and as you can see from the package status, 5.6 is now headed for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, Trusty Tahr.

Hot on the heels of the Ubuntu news came the inclusion of 5.6 in Debian experimental. We do believe that the current packages are quite solid, and we will continue to work closely with the Debian community to deal with any reported issues and in general refine things so that 5.6 can go into Debian testing soon.

Working with the Debian and Ubuntu folks has been an absolute pleasure, and at the risk of leaving out someone, I will say a heartfelt thanks to Robie Basak, Björn Boschman, Clint Byrum, Dustin Kirkland and James Page, and to our very own Akhil Mohan and Norvald Ryeng for their hard work.

Maintenance and Updates

And now that we have 5.6 in Ubuntu, how will it get maintained there? MySQL maintenance releases come out on a bi-monthly schedule, containing fixes for important bugs reported by the community, by customers and by our own developers. This is not a perfect match for Linux distros, where the approach has historically been to select a specific MySQL release to go into a new major release of the distro. Subsequent maintenance has largely consisted of the distro maintainer fixing reported issues or security bugs by either backporting from later MySQL releases or implementing their own fixes.

There are many good reasons for this approach, and a key one is trust. If a distro maintainer were to update the distro packages more or less in sync with upstream releases (for MySQL, “upstream” is us), he or she would have to be able to trust that upstream doesn’t invite trouble by introducing risky bug fixes or new features in maintenance releases, that upgrades and forward compatibility don’t break, and that upstream in general has development and QA processes in place to prevent any surprises in new releases.

We are happy to say that we have earned that trust in Ubuntu. Earlier this month, MySQL was granted a so-called “micro release exception”, which means that new MySQL maintenance releases should appear on a regular basis in Ubuntu going forward. The relevant mail thread is on the Ubuntu tech board mailing list, and you can read much more about MySQL’s maintenance release process in an excellent post over on the MySQL Server Team blog.

What’s Next?

Right now, we’re taking all the experience and knowledge we have gathered while working with and in the Debian and Ubuntu community and applying that to our own debs. The current debs were in much need of some love, and we’ll have some very good news for our Debian and Ubuntu users in a little while.

In parallel with that, we are continuing the work to further refine the current repo packages, add more platforms and more products to the official MySQL repos, and in the process also try to reach out to distro maintainers of the same products to make sure we understand what life downstream is like. And we will continue to work with distros in areas beyond packaging.

Requests, ideas, thoughts on our packaging efforts? Anything else we should be doing together with the distros? Let us know in a comment!

Utilities! Fresh Utilities! Get Your Utilities Here!

MySQL Utilities is one of those gems that every MySQL user should know about. They simplify and help automate a wide range of tasks and activities that everyone from casual users to seasoned DBAs may need to carry out on their MySQL setup from time to time, all the way from cloning users, copying databases and exporting data to managing replication topologies and failover.

This has been on our list of products to put into the MySQL repos for a long time. But the collection of utilities  is evolving quickly, with new features and improvements being added all the time, and when I’ve approached the dev team to get the repo effort underway, they’ve always been responding “Hey, can’t we wait until the next release? We have all these cool new features lined up for that!”

Well, we finally convinced them that what they have now is more than good enough to go into the repo. So as of this morning, you can go to the repo setup page and grab the relevant setup package, and within minutes, you will have at your disposal some pretty powerful stuff to help you maintain and run your MySQL system.

Want to know more about MySQL Utilities? Here are a couple of pointers:

And as usual, drop me a comment if you have viewpoints on the MySQL repos in general or the Utilities packages specifically. And should you (*shudder*) encounter problems when using our repos, please submit a bug report.

Giving Red Hat 7 Users a Choice

Red Hat recently released a beta of what will become the next version of their Enterprise Linux. As many people have noticed, Red Hat opted for a forked version of MySQL 5.5 (which GA’d 3 years ago).

MySQL has come a long way in those three years, and MySQL 5.6 was released just under a year ago. It has much improved performance, it is easier to manage and it has a boatload of new and enhanced features across the board. And not least: over this last year it has proved itself to be the most stable and robust MySQL release ever.

The problem is that Red Hat 7 beta users aren’t given a choice: There is no real, recent MySQL Server in the distro. We certainly welcome competition in the MySQL area; healthy competition energizes people and drives them to perform, but that requires giving users a choice. Restricting choice restricts competition and hurts users.

So today we are launching support for the RHEL 7 beta from the official MySQL yum repository, giving users the choice between what comes with the distro and a more modern, robust and well performing product: MySQL Server 5.6. We also added MySQL Server 5.5 to provide a smooth upgrade path and give a choice to those who want to run an older version of the real MySQL. And to top it off, we have the latest Server 5.7 development milestone in there as well, for those who want to get a taste of the very latest and greatest.

With MySQL Server plus the ODBC and Python connectors in place for RHEL 7, we will proceed to add more connectors and tools over time. So keep watching this space for more news.

Now, if you are an early adopter of EL7, head over to the repo setup page for an easy way to get the real MySQL on your system. And please leave your comments here, or submit a feature request or bug report to the MySQL bug database.

Fedora 20 Is Here: We Support It From Day One

Today, we congratulate the Fedora community on their newest release. We believe it is a great platform to run the real, official MySQL on, and today we are adding Fedora 20 support in our Yum repos.

We have the latest MySQL Server 5.6, the latest 5.7 development release and Connector ODBC ready for you on Fedora 20. Workbench is coming, it just needs a little bit of tweaking first.

In addition, we have added Connector/Python to the repo for all supported platforms.

Now, head on over to the repo setup page on dev.mysql.com to get the real stuff!

MySQL Repo News

What’s new in the MySQL Yum repositories

A little over a month ago we launched the official MySQL Yum repository. An official repo was a long standing request from the community, and we’ve had it on our list of todos for a long time. We finally got it done, and in the process we modernized and improved our RPMs vastly and hopefully also made life a bit easier for the long suffering distro package maintainers, volunteers that provide the all important service of keeping MySQL fresh and usable in the Linux distros.

The greatest challenge in the project was to get to initial launch. Of course, a stable and reliable service is very important, but even more essential was that we wanted to deliver packages that really represented a leap forward in usability, integration with the underlying system and that not least closely matched the expectations of Linux users anno 2013.

We believe that we got at least part of the way towards those goals; uptake has been good and there are now thousands of systems out there running on packages from the MySQL repo. We have received valuable feedback, both negative and positive, and we have hopefully managed to respond to questions and help resolve problems in a good way so far.

Last week, we took the next major steps in the repo project, largely based on feedback and requests from the community. Here is a list of the major changes and additions:

Server milestone releases in the repo

  • We are now releasing MySQL Server development milestones through the repo: the just released MySQL 5.7.3 is available now
  • Simply enable in your repo setup. When the next milestone comes out, simply do a yum upgrade
  • Milestone RPMs in the repo and RPMs downloadable from dev.mysql.com are now identical

More platforms and easier upgrades

  • We added MySQL 5.6 packages for EL5. So the repo now has MySQL 5.6 on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5, Oracle Linux 5, CentOS 5 and on Fedora 18 and 19 (stay tuned for Fedora 20)
  • We added MySQL 5.5 packages for EL6. As EL6 ships with MySQL 5.1 “out of the box”, this provides a smooth upgrade path to our users. Edit your repo configuration and do a yum upgrade. One or more repeats will take you to whatever point you want in the sequence 5.1 > 5.5 > 5.6 > 5.7.

Better user control of product versions

  • We split the repo by MySQL Server version. You set the major version explicitly in the repo config on your system – no one wants an accidental run of yum upgrade to perform a major version upgrade unexpectedly. MySQL 5.6 is the default.
  • Simple workflow to move through version upgrades (see above)
  • We split out separate Tools and Connectors repositories

More details

Please let us know about your experiences with these new repositories, as well as any suggestions you may have to improve the experience. Add your comments here, or to report specific bugs or problems or request features, use bugs.mysql.com (there is a new “MySQL Repositories” category).