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04 October 2010, 13:10

MySQL derivative MariaDB 5.2 gamma released

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The developers of the free MariaDB have issued a first release candidate of version 5.2 (referred to as 5.2.2 gamma), which is derived from MySQL 5.1.50. The thread programming in InnoDB has been overhauled to increase the performance of this database engine. Similar code can also be found in the latest release candidate of MySQL 5.5, which also became available recently.

The plug-in concept for authentication modules gives MariaDB greater speed than its predecessor – however, the function is still in development and only planned to be made available to commercial MySQL customers. Previously, MariaDB and MySQL required separate database accounts, and there were no plans to reuse system accounts in the same way as is possible, for instance, with Oracle and Informix, or to integrate directory services. One of MariaDB's authentication modules now enables users who are logged in under Unix to establish a database connection without having to enter a further password. However, the plug-ins need to be specifically installed when setting up the database. An API is available enabling programmers to write custom authentication modules.

MariaDB's virtual columns are another feature that is unavailable in MySQL. The virtual columns are marked with the VIRTUAL or PERSISTENT keywords in the CREATE TABLE statement. The server will create "virtual" columns from scratch for every query, while the values for "persistent" columns will be calculated and then stored permanently in the table together with the other table columns. The code for this function was originally developed by Andrej Zakhov for the abandoned MySQL 6.

The OQGRAPH engine enables graph processing in databases without the need to switch to a specialised product such as Neo4j or GraphDB. OQGRAPH uses a fixed table structure which, apart from the information required for graph traversal, only contains the IDs of the data stored in the regular table. Database queries use JOIN to connect to the graph. SphinxSE is available as an additional engine and is said to handle full-text searches faster than MariaDB/MySQL's own technology. However, the engine is only a means to connect to the Sphinx daemon which operates as an external program and does the actual work.

More details about the release can be found in the official release announcement, release notes and in the change log. MariaDB 5.2.2 is available to download from the project's wiki. MariaDB is licensed under version 2 of the GNU General Public Licence (GPLv2).

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