Since the announcement went out on December 24th, many may have missed the release of MySQL 5.0 while they were on holiday. The 5.0 release is the next stage in MySQL evolution, and includes a few "enterprise" features that may be of interest. The release is considered alpha-quality, and is mainly targeted at developers. However the
does note that "all old features should be reasonable [sic] stable."
The most interesting feature for many will be stored procedures. A stored procedure is a statement that is stored in the database server. This means that a series of SQL statements need only be issued once, and then clients can refer to that stored procedure rather than re-issuing the commands each time they need to be executed. This feature is already included in the MaxDB product from MySQL (formerly SAP DB) and other open source databases like PostgreSQL.
This release also includes server-side cursor support, new functions, and a new binary log format. According to the MySQL documentation, it should be possible to upgrade from a current version of MySQL to 5.0 to take advantage of stored procedures with existing databases. The MySQL website has binaries available for a number of platforms, including tarballs with pre-compiled binaries for Linux on x86, Alpha, S/390, AMD's X86-64, IA-64, and RPMs for x86, IA64 and X86-64. There are also pre-compiled binaries for FreeBSD, OpenBSD, MacOS X and a number of other *nix platforms, and Windows. Source is also available, though MySQL AB recommends using the provided binaries.
If history is any guide, it will be some time before 5.0 is declared production-ready. The 4.0.0 alpha release was made available October 16, 2001, the 4.0.x release declared production-ready was the 4.0.12 release about a year and half later on March 18, 2003.
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