MySQL is a popular structured query language (SQL) database server. Like other SQL servers, MySQL provides the means of accessing and managing SQL databases. However, MySQL also provides tools for creating database structures, as well as for adding, modifying, and removing data from those structures. Because MySQL is a relational database, data can be stored and controlled in small, manageable tables. Those tables can be used in combination to create flexible yet complex data structures.
A Swedish company called MySQL AB is responsible for developing MySQL (www.mysql.com). MySQL AB has released MySQL as an open-source product, gaining revenue by offering a variety of MySQL support packages. The company also supports several application programming interfaces (APIs) to help application developers and Web content creators to access MySQL content.
Because MySQL is an open-source product, it has been ported to several different operating systems (primarily UNIX and Linux systems, though there are Windows versions and now even a Mac OS X version as well). As you may have guessed, these include binary versions of MySQL that run on Red Hat Linux. This chapter contains descriptions of and procedures for the version of MySQL that is contained in the Red Hat Linux distribution.
The version of MySQL that comes with this version of Red Hat Linux is 3.23. If you want to explore later versions of MySQL, go to www.mysql.com. As of this writing, you can download production versions of MySQL 4.0 and development versions of MySQL 4.1 and 5.0.