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2.3 Differences Between Major MySQL Distributions

In addition to supporting several operating systems, MySQL AB ships versions of MySQL that are at different stages of development.

A release series of MySQL goes through a development cycle in the following stages. The series numbers in parentheses indicate which series happens to be at a particular stage as of November 2003.

  • Pre-alpha: No binaries are available; source code is first developed internally within MySQL AB, and then made publicly available. At this stage, new features are added, internal tests are applied, and bugs are fixed. (MySQL 5.0)

  • Alpha: Binaries are available; new features are still added and bugs fixed based on both internal and external input. (MySQL 4.1)

  • Beta: Binaries are available; no new features are added while the program stabilizes (that is, while reported bugs are being fixed).

  • Gamma: Binaries are available and no major bugs have been found for over a month.

  • Production: All known bugs, major and minor, have been fixed. (MySQL 4.0)

A given version of MySQL is available in different distribution formats. You can always download the source code and compile it yourself. For many systems, you can also download a precompiled binary distribution. Binary distributions vary according to their feature set. For example, there is a stripped-down distribution (MySQL Classic) that doesn't support the InnoDB storage engine, and a standard MySQL distribution that does support InnoDB. For the convenience of users who want to test recent features that have been omitted from MySQL to make the distribution smaller, MySQL AB provides the MySQL Max distribution. MySQL Max includes features such as support for geographical data (GIS), the BDB storage engine, and so on.

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