2.1.2 Which MySQL Version and Distribution to Install

When preparing to install MySQL, you should decide which version to use, and which distribution format (binary or source) to use for the installation.

First, decide if you want to install a development release or a GA release. Development releases have the newest features, but are not recommended for production use. GA (General Availability) releases, also called production or stable releases, are meant for production use. We recommend to use the most recent GA release.

The naming scheme in MySQL 5.5 uses release names that consist of three numbers and a suffix; for example, mysql-5.6.1-m1. The numbers within the release name are interpreted as follows:

For each minor update, the last number in the version string is incremented. When there are major new features or minor incompatibilities with previous versions, the second number in the version string is incremented. When the file format changes, the first number is increased.

Release names can also include a suffix that indicates the stability level of the release. Releases within a series progress through a set of suffixes to indicate how the stability level improves. The possible suffixes are:

Once you've chosen which MySQL version to install, you need to decide which distribution to install for your operating system. For most use cases, a binary distribution is the right choice. Binary distributions are available in native format for many platforms, such as RPM packages for Linux, or DMG packages for Mac OS X. Distributions are also available in more generic formats such as Zip archives or compressed tar files. On Windows, you can use the MySQL Installer to install a binary distribution.

Under some circumstances, you may be better off installing MySQL from a source distribution: