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2.2 Major Operating System Families Supported by MySQL

Because the server and clients communicate over network connections, it isn't necessary to run them all on the same host. Nor is it necessary that server and clients be run on hosts that use the same operating system because MySQL supports several major families of operating systems. This means that MySQL can be used in heterogeneous environments. For example, a server running on a Unix host can be accessed by clients running on Windows machines.

The major operating system families supported by MySQL include Windows, Unix, Linux, and NetWare.

  • Under Windows, MySQL runs both on NT-based systems (Windows NT, Windows 2000, and Windows XP), and on non-NT systems (Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows Me). MySQL does not run on Windows 3.1 or earlier, or on MS-DOS. (You can invoke MySQL programs from within a console window under Windows, but MySQL does not run on DOS-only systems.)

  • Within the Unix family, MySQL runs on BSD-based systems such as FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, and Mac OS X. It also runs on System V versions of Unix, such as Solaris and HP-UX.

  • Within the Linux family, MySQL runs on varieties such as SuSE, RedHat, Debian, and Caldera.

  • Novell and MySQL have partnered to make MySQL available on Novell NetWare. MySQL is distributed as part of NetWare 6.5.

For most purposes, Unix and Linux are identical as far as MySQL use is concerned. Therefore, unless explicitly stated otherwise, any reference to Unix elsewhere in this study guide should be taken to include Linux as well.

Although there are technical differences between the distributions of MySQL released for each operating system, cross-platform support is such that differences are usually small enough to be unnoticeable in daily use. Some operating systems are supported more extensively than others.

  • For many operating systems, MySQL AB provides precompiled ("binary") distributions that are ready to be installed. In general, MySQL AB recommends that you use a binary distribution if one is available for your system.

  • In some cases, binary distributions are made available by third parties. For example, SGI Irix binary distributions are provided by SGI.

  • There are sometimes no binary distributions available for an operating system upon which MySQL can run. If you want to run MySQL on such an operating system, you can download the source code and compile it yourself.

Note that although binary distributions are recommended, you aren't required to use them. The source code is available to anyone, for those who prefer to compile MySQL themselves.

Another area in which distributions differ is in the level of support you can get from MySQL AB. Factors such as your operating system and the version of MySQL that you run are likely to affect your choice of support options.

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