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MySQL (/maɪ ˌɛs kjuː ˈɛl/ "My S-Q-L", officially, but also called /maɪ ˈsiːk wəl/ "My Sequel") is (as of July 2013) the world's second most[a] widely used relational database management system (RDBMS) and most widely used open-source RDBMS. It is named after co-founder Michael Widenius's daughter, My. The SQL acronym stands for Structured Query Language.

The MySQL development project has made its source code available under the terms of the GNU General Public License, as well as under a variety of proprietary agreements. MySQL was owned and sponsored by a single for-profit firm, the Swedish company MySQL AB, now owned by Oracle Corporation.

MySQL is a popular choice of database for use in web applications, and is a central component of the widely used LAMP open source web application software stack (and other 'AMP' stacks). LAMP is an acronym for "Linux, Apache, MySQL, Perl/PHP/Python." Free-software-open source projects that require a full-featured database management system often use MySQL.

For proprietary use, several paid editions are available, and offer additional functionality. Applications which use MySQL databases include: TYPO3, MODx, Joomla, WordPress, phpBB, MyBB, Drupal and other software. MySQL is also used in many high-profile, large-scale websites, including Google(though not for searches), Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube.

MySQL is a relational database management system (RDBMS), and ships with no GUI tools to administer MySQL databases or manage data contained within the databases. Users may use the included command line tools,[21][22] or use MySQL "front-ends", desktop software and web applications that create and manage MySQL databases, build database structures, back up data, inspect status, and work with data records. The official set of MySQL front-end tools, MySQL Workbench is actively developed by Oracle, and is freely available for use.

MySQL works on many system platforms, including AIX, BSDi, FreeBSD, HP-UX, eComStation, i5/OS, IRIX, Linux, OS X, Microsoft Windows, NetBSD, Novell NetWare, OpenBSD, OpenSolaris, OS/2 Warp, QNX, Oracle Solaris, Symbian, SunOS, SCO OpenServer, SCO UnixWare, Sanos and Tru64. A port of MySQL to OpenVMS also exists.

MySQL is written in C and C++. Its SQL parser is written in yacc, but it uses a home-brewed lexical analyzer. Many programming languages with language-specific APIs include libraries for accessing MySQL databases. These include MySQL Connector/Net for integration with Microsoft's Visual Studio (languages such as C# and VB are most commonly used) and the JDBC driver for Java. In addition, an ODBC interface called MyODBC allows additional programming languages that support the ODBC interface to communicate with a MySQL database, such as ASP or ColdFusion. The HTSQL – URL-based query method also ships with a MySQL adapter, allowing direct interaction between a MySQL database and any web client via structured URLs.

(Source: Wikipedia)

Version history (text): 

Notable milestones in MySQL development include:

    Original development of MySQL by Michael Widenius and David Axmark beginning in 1994[84]
    First internal release on 23 May 1995
    Version 3.19: End of 1996, from
    Version 3.20: January 1997
    Windows version was released on 8 January 1998 for Windows 95 and NT
    Version 3.21: production release 1998, from
    Version 3.22: alpha, beta from 1998
    Version 3.23: beta from June 2000, production release 22 January 2001[85]
    Version 4.0: beta from August 2002, production release March 2003 (unions)
    Version 4.01: beta from August 2003, Jyoti[clarification needed][citation needed] adopts MySQL for database tracking
    Version 4.1: beta from June 2004, production release October 2004 (R-trees and B-trees, subqueries, prepared statements)
    Version 5.0: beta from March 2005, production release October 2005 (cursors, stored procedures, triggers, views, XA transactions)

    The developer of the Federated Storage Engine states that "The Federated Storage Engine is a proof-of-concept storage engine",[86] but the main distributions of MySQL version 5.0 included it and turned it on by default. Documentation of some of the short-comings appears in "MySQL Federated Tables: The Missing Manual".[87]

    Sun Microsystems acquired MySQL AB in 2008.[88]
    Version 5.1: production release 27 November 2008 (event scheduler, partitioning, plugin API, row-based replication, server log tables)

    Version 5.1 contained 20 known crashing and wrong result bugs in addition to the 35 present in version 5.0 (almost all fixed as of release 5.1.51).[89]
    MySQL 5.1 and 6.0-alpha showed poor performance when used for data warehousing – partly due to its inability to utilize multiple CPU cores for processing a single query.[90]

    Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems on 27 January 2010.[91]
    The day Oracle announced the purchase of Sun, Michael "Monty" Widenius forked MySQL, launching MariaDB, and took a swath of MySQL developers with him.[92]
    MySQL Server 5.5 was generally available (as of December 2010). Enhancements and features include:
        The default storage engine is InnoDB, which supports transactions and referential integrity constraints.
        Improved InnoDB I/O subsystem[93]
        Improved SMP support[94]
        Semisynchronous replication.
        SIGNAL and RESIGNAL statement in compliance with the SQL standard.
        Support for supplementary Unicode character sets utf16, utf32, and utf8mb4.
        New options for user-defined partitioning.
    MySQL Server 6.0.11-alpha was announced[95] on 22 May 2009 as the last release of the 6.0 line. Future MySQL Server development uses a New Release Model. Features developed for 6.0 are being incorporated into future releases.
    MySQL 5.6 general availability was announced in February 2013. New features included performance improvements to the query optimizer, higher transactional throughput in InnoDB, new NoSQL-style memcached APIs, improvements to partitioning for querying and managing very large tables, TIMESTAMP column type that correctly stores milliseconds, improvements to replication, and better performance monitoring by expanding the data available through the PERFORMANCE_SCHEMA.[96] The InnoDB storage engine also included support for full text search and improved group commit performance.
    MySQL 5.7 Development Milestone 3 was released December 2013.[97]

(Source: Wikipedia)

overview of various MySQL versions
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Marius Ulvund