Long a staple of open source computing, MySQL serves as the database back end to a massive array of applications, from network monitoring frameworks to Facebook. To those uninitiated in how databases work, setting up MySQL for the first time can be somewhat daunting. Nevertheless, with a few pointers and concepts, you can quickly get a new MySQL instance up and running, ready to deploy your application.
For the purposes of this guide, we'll assume that the reader has little or no experience with MySQL on Linux, and we'll concentrate on getting MySQL installed and configured to the point where an application can be connected to the database and begin operation. Advanced elements of MySQL, such as database programming and the SQL language itself, are beyond the scope of this effort.
First things first, we need to get MySQL installed on our system. Assuming that we have a clean installation of Ubuntu Server, Fedora, or CentOS, we simply need to use the package installation tools to pull down the required packages and install them.
Note that we may need some extra packages aside from the main MySQL code in order to make our application function. For instance, if we're going to use a PHP-based application with MySQL, we'll need to install the PHP MySQL packages that allow PHP to talk to MySQL servers.
To begin, however, we should check to see if MySQL was installed during the OS installation. On Fedora and CentOS we would run this as root:
# rpm -qa | grep mysql