The version, 5.0.0, has been under development for some three years. It delivers new ANSI SQL features, some of which have never before been seen in the database.
These new features include both read-only and updated views, stored procedures and stored functions that rely on the SQL:2003 syntax also used by IBM DB2, row-level triggers, and both read-only and non-scrolling server-side cursors.
"Implementing ANSI SQL standard ways of using existing MySQL features means there will be fewer unpleasant surprises ("gotchas") for those migrating to MySQL from other database systems," wrote MySQL Vice President of Community Relations Kaj Arnö on the companys site.
For example, Arnö said, MySQL 5.0 adds a mode that enables strict data-type checking. Thus, the database will issue errors for invalid dates, numbers and strings.
Brian "Krow" Aker, a MySQL employee, wrote in a Slashdot posting that the company has resolved issues with bad data inserts, which "personally annoyed the hell out of me when we rewrote Slashdot a couple of years back, so I am happy to see this issue go away."
Other goodies include an ANSI SQL-compliant Data Dictionary to access metadata and a new library for arithmetic that will give high accuracy on financial and mathematical operations.
MySQL 5.0 also packs new storage engines, tools and extensions. For example, the Archive Storage Engine is designed for storing large amounts of data without indexes in a very small footprint. Thats intended to handle historical data to keep enterprises in compliance with audits, such as with Sarbanes-Oxley regulations.
Also, 5.0s Federated Storage Engine is geared to accessing data in tables of remote databases, as opposed to in local tables (only available in the MAX version).
MySQL 5.0 also includes an Instance Manager tool for starting and stopping the MySQL Server, whether locally or remotely.
More details on whats new in 5.0 are available here.
At this point, 5.0 is stable enough that MySQL hasnt received a "significant inflow" of bugs that impacted a large number of users in a while, Arnö wrote.
Still, MySQL is hoping the open-source community keeps finding bugs, and its offering prizes to spur on the hunt. For those who deliver the most valuable feedback, the company is giving away Apple iPod Nanos or full conference passes to its 2006 MySQL Users Conference.
"We recognize we havent crossed the finish line yet, so we still very much need your involvement to ensure that MySQL 5.0 is the best that it possibly can be," Arnö said. "To show our appreciation for your efforts, well be fixing the bugs you find as fast as we can."
MySQL 5.0 can be downloaded here.