Rebuilding the installation chapter

We have lots of things on the go right now (over and above the normal process of keeping things up to date), and one of the main projects for me is to do a complete rebuild of the installation chapter (Installing and Upgrading MySQL). I’ll be starting with the 5.1 manual, then the 5.4 manual. Any future manuals should be based on these so we should be up to date for future generations. What I’m doing:

  • Re-structuring the chapter to make it easier to follow on a platform basis. The old structure mixed content for different binary and source types, and different platforms, across a number of sections, making it very difficult to follow the instructions for your chosen platform.
  • Make some things generic. There are sections which are generic and apply to all (or at least many) different installation types.
  • Make some things more specific. Equally, there are some things that need to be spelled out more uniquely.
  • Remove some old, old, advice. We have notes in there going back 10 years or more. Among the favorite examples I’ve found is a piece of advice that says ‘If your machine has more than 16MB of RAM…’. These things are not helpful in the manual, and may just serve to confuse some people.
  • Remove some older platforms. Some of the platforms and advice go back and predate MySQL 5.1, and even MySQL 5.0 and 4.1. In many cases the OS information is for a system either no longer actively developed or supported (FreeBSD 3.x, or Solaris 2.5, for example). Again, we want to remove some ambiguous and potentially confusing information and advice here for platforms which we simply can no longer monitor.
  • Make it easier to keep up to date. The problem with the old organic structure is that knowing where to add new content, improvements, extensions, etc. becomes harder and harder. by merging and unifying the structure we will improve this, and in turn, improve the ability to find information.

In practice that means for at least the next month or so you will see a number of improvements and restructuring in the installation chapter for 5.1 and later manuals. I already have a list of about 35 items that need to be addressed, over and above the list above, but feel free to provide any additional suggestions and I’ll see what I can do to fit them in.