Migrating to MySQL 5.5 on Ubuntu

MySQL 5.5 has been GA since December 2010, however there are currently no deb packages available. Ubuntu takes all (or most of) it’s packages from the unstable Debian branch, hence the natural order of things is for Debian maintainers to do the leg work (e.g. creating the build scripts) and then Ubuntu can use this to build similar or newer minor versions for the Ubuntu OS. I suspect that as 5.5 is a major release and there are a considerable number of changes that the build scripts take a considerable amount of time to write and possibly some of the Debian modifications/patches need updates to ensure compatibility too, hence the long delay.

However, we can install MySQL 5.5 from the generic tarball and make a few “tweaks” to maintain the default Ubuntu structures and settings.

There are more straight forward ways to install MySQL, however the intention of this guide is to allow us to easily upgrade via multiple future available routes with minimal effort (e.g. via deb packages, or in their absence newer generic tar distributions).

1. Create user/group

Note: I manually chose system group ids looking at the latest system group id in /etc/passwd and /etc/group

groupadd -r -g 108 mysql
useradd -r -g mysql -u 106 mysql

2. Create folders

mkdir /var/lib/mysql
mkdir /var/log/mysql
mkdir /usr/lib/mysql
mkdir /usr/share/mysql
mkdir -p /etc/mysql/conf.d
mkdir /var/run/mysqld

3. Set a few folder permissions

chown mysql:adm /var/log/mysql
chmod 750 /var/log/mysql/
chmod g+s /var/log/mysql/
chown mysql:mysql /var/run/mysqld

4. Download the source and copy/move it to the default install folder in /usr/local. (This is not standard Ubuntu, however due to some of the compilation options on the tar package it avoids a few issues but maintains Ubuntu paths.)

wget http://www.mysql.com/get/Downloads/MySQL-5.5/mysql-5.5.8-linux2.6-x86_64.tar.gz/from/ftp://ftp.mirrorservice.org/sites/ftp.mysql.com/
tar xzf mysql-5.5.8-linux2.6-x86_64.tar.gz
mv mysql-5.5.8-linux2.6-x86_64 mysql
mv mysql /usr/local/

5. Move files to the Ubuntu locations and create simlinks “just in case” MySQL has something hard coded into the build that cannot be changed via the config.

cd /usr/local/mysql/
mv bin/* /usr/bin/
rmdir bin/
ln -s /usr/bin/
cp lib/libmysqlclient* /usr/lib
cp -r lib/plugin /usr/lib/mysql/
cp support-files/* /usr/share/mysql
cp -r share/* /usr/share/mysql
rm -r share
ln -s /usr/share/mysql share

6. Create the default data files and move them to /var/lib/mysql

cp -r data/* /var/lib/mysql
chown -R mysql:mysql /var/lib/mysql
chmod -R 700 /var/lib/mysql
rm -r data
ln -s /var/lib/mysql data

7. Copy the init script over to /etc/init.d and modify to suit our needs

cp support-files/mysql.server /etc/init.d/mysql

Edit with your favorite text editor and ensure the following are set:


8. Add my.cnf, the default 5.1 file will do, with 1 or 2 modifications. Specifically, check the basedir and datadir are set correctly, ensure Innodb is the default storage engine (as per 5.5) and note the new syntax for slow query logging (disabled by default). It would be advisable to set common Innodb options, e.g. pool size.

# The MySQL database server configuration file.
# You can copy this to one of:
# - "/etc/mysql/my.cnf" to set global options,
# - "~/.my.cnf" to set user-specific options.
# One can use all long options that the program supports.
# Run program with --help to get a list of available options and with
# --print-defaults to see which it would actually understand and use.
# For explanations see
# http://dev.mysql.com/doc/mysql/en/server-system-variables.html

# This will be passed to all mysql clients
# It has been reported that passwords should be enclosed with ticks/quotes
# escpecially if they contain "#" chars...
# Remember to edit /etc/mysql/debian.cnf when changing the socket location.
port            = 3306
socket          = /var/run/mysqld/mysqld.sock

# Here is entries for some specific programs
# The following values assume you have at least 32M ram

# This was formally known as [safe_mysqld]. Both versions are currently parsed.
socket          = /var/run/mysqld/mysqld.sock
nice            = 0

# * Basic Settings

#   If you make changes to these settings and your system uses apparmor, you may
#   also need to also adjust /etc/apparmor.d/usr.sbin.mysqld.

user            = mysql
socket          = /var/run/mysqld/mysqld.sock
port            = 3306
basedir         = /usr/local/mysql
datadir         = /var/lib/mysql
tmpdir          = /tmp
# Instead of skip-networking the default is now to listen only on
# localhost which is more compatible and is not less secure.
bind-address            =
# * Fine Tuning
key_buffer              = 16M
max_allowed_packet      = 16M
thread_stack            = 192K
thread_cache_size       = 8
# This replaces the startup script and checks MyISAM tables if needed
# the first time they are touched
myisam-recover         = BACKUP
#max_connections        = 100
#table_cache            = 64
#thread_concurrency     = 10
# * Query Cache Configuration
query_cache_limit       = 1M
query_cache_size        = 16M
# * Logging and Replication
# Both location gets rotated by the cronjob.
# Be aware that this log type is a performance killer.
# As of 5.1 you can enable the log at runtime!
#general_log_file        = /var/log/mysql/mysql.log
#general_log             = 1

log_error                = /var/log/mysql/error.log

# Here you can see queries with especially long duration
#slow-query-log-file     = /var/log/mysql/mysql-slow.log
#long_query_time         = 2
# The following can be used as easy to replay backup logs or for replication.
# note: if you are setting up a replication slave, see README.Debian about
#       other settings you may need to change.
#server-id              = 1
#log_bin                        = /var/log/mysql/mysql-bin.log
expire_logs_days        = 10
max_binlog_size         = 100M
#binlog_do_db           = include_database_name
#binlog_ignore_db       = include_database_name

# * InnoDB
# InnoDB is enabled by default with a 10MB datafile in /var/lib/mysql/.
# Read the manual for more InnoDB related options. There are many!
default_storage_engine  = InnoDB

# * Security Features
# Read the manual, too, if you want chroot!
# chroot = /var/lib/mysql/
# For generating SSL certificates I recommend the OpenSSL GUI "tinyca".
# ssl-ca=/etc/mysql/cacert.pem
# ssl-cert=/etc/mysql/server-cert.pem
# ssl-key=/etc/mysql/server-key.pem

max_allowed_packet      = 16M

#no-auto-rehash # faster start of mysql but no tab completition

key_buffer              = 16M

# * IMPORTANT: Additional settings that can override those from this file!
#   The files must end with '.cnf', otherwise they'll be ignored.
!includedir /etc/mysql/conf.d/

9. Start the server!

/etc/init.d/mysql start

If the server fails to start, check /var/log/mysql/error.log for clues.


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