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What is MySQL?


MySQL, the most popular Open Source SQL database, is developed and provided by MySQL AB. MySQL AB is a commercial company that builds its business providing services around the MySQL database. See section 1.3 What Is MySQL AB.

The MySQL web site (http://www.mysql.com/) provides the latest information about MySQL software and MySQL AB.

MySQL is a database management system.
A database is a structured collection of data. It may be anything from a simple shopping list to a picture gallery or the vast amounts of information in a corporate network. To add, access, and process data stored in a computer database, you need a database management system such as MySQL Server. Since computers are very good at handling large amounts of data, database management plays a central role in computing, as stand-alone utilities, or as parts of other applications.
MySQL is a relational database management system.
A relational database stores data in separate tables rather than putting all the data in one big storeroom. This adds speed and flexibility. The tables are linked by defined relations making it possible to combine data from several tables on request. The SQL part of ``MySQL'' stands for ``Structured Query Language'' - the most common standardised language used to access databases.
MySQL Software is Open Source.
Open Source means that it is possible for anyone to use and modify. Anybody can download the MySQL software from the Internet and use it without paying anything. Anybody so inclined can study the source code and change it to fit their needs. The MySQL software uses the GPL (GNU General Public License) http://www.gnu.org/licenses/, to define what you may and may not do with the software in different situations. If you feel uncomfortable with the GPL or need to embed MySQL code into a commercial application you can buy a commercially licensed version from us. See section 1.4.3 MySQL Server Licenses.
Why use the MySQL Database Server?
The MySQL Database Server is very fast, reliable, and easy to use. If that is what you are looking for, you should give it a try. MySQL Server also has a practical set of features developed in close cooperation with our users. You can find a performance comparison of MySQL Server to some other database managers on our benchmark page. See section 5.1.4 The MySQL Benchmark Suite. MySQL Server was originally developed to handle large databases much faster than existing solutions and has been successfully used in highly demanding production environments for several years. Though under constant development, MySQL Server today offers a rich and useful set of functions. The connectivity, speed, and security make MySQL Server highly suited for accessing databases on the Internet.
The technical features of MySQL Server
For advanced technical information, see section 6 MySQL Language Reference. The MySQL Database Software is a client/server system that consists of a multi-threaded SQL server that supports different backends, several different client programs and libraries, administrative tools, and a wide range of programming interfaces (APIs). We also provide MySQL Server as a multi-threaded library which you can link into your application to get a smaller, faster, easier to manage product.
There is a lot of contributed MySQL software available.
It is very likely that you will find that your favorite application or language already supports the MySQL Database Server.

The official way to pronounce MySQL is ``My Ess Que Ell'' (not ``my sequel''), but we don't mind if you pronounce it as ``my sequel'' or in some other localised way.

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