MySQL is a popular cross-platform Database Management System. It uses the SQL (Structured Query Language) syntax for scripting queries.
MySQL's primary use is in storing data for websites that need to have dynamically generated content. It is commonly used with the Apache Web Server and the PHP or perl programming languages. It is an integral component of the LAMP application stack (Linux / Apache / MySQL / PHP or perl)
The popularity of PHP, which commonly supports MySQL, makes it a popular choice for many developers. Until recently it was not seen as a serious contender against MSSQL and Oracle, but with the recent additions of an enterprise level server with clustering support it has started gaining acceptance as a robust database server solution that large businesses can rely on.
An Open Source SQL Server, MySQL is developed, distributed and supported by the Swedish for-profit company MySQL AB who holds the copyright on the software. Unlike other SQL servers, MySQL is pronounced "My ESS Que Ell", not "My See Kwell".
Initially developed by Michael (Monty) Widenius in the mid 1990s to provide functionality that was missing from mSQL (one of the few Open Source databases available at the time), MySQL’s goal was to provide a foundation for developers looking to create web-based applications. The first version of the server was developed in May of 1995 with the release to the Open Source community made as version 3.11.1 in October 1996 (Ref: LinuxJournal MySQL Introduction ).
MySQL moved to the GNU General Public License (GPL) in June of 2000.
The addition of MySQL in Red Hat Linux 7 in September of 2000 was a significant event in the increasing popularity of the database server, though even at that time (according to Michael Widenius of MySQL AB) it was the most used database server in the Linux world.
Version 4 of the MySQL Server was released in October of 2001. New features include: Subqueries. (Ref: Nesting SELECTs in MySQL 4.1, )
Version 5 of the MySQL Server was released in December of 2003 and included such enterprise additions as the MySQL Enterprise and MySQL Cluster Server. This was a new direction for MySQL AB as both of these versions of the server require per CPU licensing similar to MSSQL. New features include: stored procedures, server-side cursor, triggers. (Ref: MySQL 5.0 New Features: Triggers By Peter Gulutzan ), (Ref: MySQL adding stored procedures to database by Paul Krill on January 12, 2004 at infoworld.com )
MySQL AB was bought by SUN Microsystems on Feb 26, 2008 for $1B USD. Ref:[]. Sun sells server hardware and MySQL is a very popular database server. Sun can best maximize this hardware/software combination if it controls both parts. Sun has said that they will sell service and support for MySQL. Historically, Sun has supported other open source programs like open office. Sun's words and deeds show it supports some open source programs for business. Clearly Sun sees some future in such a model.