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MariaDB is a community-developed fork of the MySQL relational database management system intended to remain free under the GNU GPL. It is notable for being led by the original developers of MySQL, who forked it due to concerns over its acquisition by Oracle.

This is the general documentation for normal and common general usage, for professional usage please use Production DataBases : mysql that is the same as MariaDB but with several modifications focused on production and security!


Alpine Linux has dummy counterparts packages for those that are not close to that change from mysql to mariadb naming packages.

Take in consideration that the user mysql was created during instalation of packages, in the initialization section two users will be created in database init: root and mysql, and in that point only if are in their respective system accounts, will be able to connect to the database service.

apk add mysql mysql-client

That will install the most used ones.. mariadb-cient and mariadb-server, rest of packages are brief described here for more information, here are listed in orden of relevance for production server

MySQL name package Since Alpine: Brief usage Related package
mysql v2 it's a dummy package to easy install of mariadb mariadb
mysql-client v2 it's a dummy package to easy install of commands tools mariadb-client
mariadb v2 server equivalent to mysql-server mariadb-common
mariadb-client v2 connection command line and tools mariadb-common
mariadb-doc v3.0 manpages are there! man man-pages
mariadb-connector-odbc edge coding or making OS level connections, to any DB without libs install .
mariadb-connector-c v3.8 coding connection on C sources mariadb-connector-c-dev
mariadb-backup v3.8 to external backup devices, not widely used, in past was inside mariadb package .
mariadb-server-utils v3.8 server commands not widely used, in past was inside mariadb package .
mariadb-dev v3.1 Need for compilations depends on source code .
mariadb-test v3.3 testing suite from MariaDB tools .
mariadb-mytop v3.9 data performance monitoring .
mariadb-plugin-rocksdb v3.9 plain key-value event relational for data .
mariadb-static v3.8 static libs for static non depends linking in builds .
mariadb-embedded v3.9 the libmysqld identical interface as the C client mariadb-embedded-dev
mariadb-embedded-dev v3.9 use the normal mysql.h and link with libmysqld instead of libmysqlclient mariadb-dev
mariadb-openrc v3.8 separate scripts, in past was embebed on server package .


The alpine package of MySQL/MariaDB are like normal tarball of MySQL one, admins must know what they want.. there's no automatic window-like installation here.

The datadir located at /var/lib/mysql must be owned by the mysql user and group. You can modify this behavior but must edit the service file at /etc/init.d directory. Also, you need to set datadir=<YOUR_DATADIR> under section [mysqld] at the config file.

  1. Initialize the main mysql database, and the data dir as standardized to /var/lib/mysql by the rc script.
    /etc/init.d/mariadb setup
  2. Then you can start the service but there's no root password set until this point.
    /etc/init.d/mariadb start
  3. Secure the installation by runningmysql_secure_installation
  4. Setup permissions for manage others users and databases


In order to finish setup into MariaDB now provide this script called mysql_secure_instalation that also are present as mariadb-secure-installation, too. This script provides minimal and security setup to the database, and here are the questions made explained:

  1. Enter current password for root (enter for none): If you have previously set up a root password, provide it here and press enter, either just push enter. If correctly entered, the response will be OK, successfully used password, moving on...
  2. Switch to unix_socket authentication [Y/n] Setting the root password or using the Unix_socket ensures that only admins can log into engine database, cos we are not production one just pust "n" to setup a root password, which will give you the response ... skipping.
  3. Change the root password? [Y/n] This gives you the opportunity to change the root password to a stronger one if necessary. So enter "Y" and lest type the new password.. be carefully with that can be remembered.
  4. Remove anonymous users? [Y/n] Remove anonymous users created to log in using socket authentication. Answering 'Y', resulting in: ... Success!.
  5. Disallow root login remotely? [Y/n] Normally, root should only be allowed to connect from 'localhost' in order to protect from password sniffing attempts over the network. Enter 'Y' to get: ... Success!.
  6. Remove test database and access to it? [Y/n] By default, MariaDB comes with a database named 'test' that anyone can access. If this is not needed, 'Y'. The response will be: ... Success!.
  7. Reload privilege tables now? [Y/n] Reloading the privilege tables will ensure that all changes made so far will take effect immediately. Answer 'Y' and the response will be: ... Success!.

After responding to each question, restart the service with rc-service mariadb restart

so to make always work on each restart set to default as rc-update add mariadb default

Configuration files and customization

Due today were influenced by systemd standardization, the famous my.cnf are not more the main config file for the server engine. Now only few variables are defined there and all the settings are provided by independent files into the /etc/my.cnf.d/ directory, user own config files are under ~/.my.cnf config file of each home dir, and are read after global ones; so then we have:

Config file Path and name Versions of Alpine Contents to configure
my.cnf /etc/mysql/my.cnf v2 to v3.8 All the directives, Global config file
mariadb-server.cnf /etc/my.cnf.d/mariadb-server.cnf since 3.9 First Global config file, main directives
.my.cnf $HOME all user name only config directives

As previously pointed here is the general documentation for normal and common general usage, for professional usage please use Production DataBases : mysql that is the same as MariaDB but with several modifications focused on production and security.

Newer system Alpine packages can set in independent files in any case those commands always works and where are not apply just will ignore the output:

  • First lest allowed all incoming connections if we plan to use in our network or remotelly, we do not put focus on security cos we must focus on easy usage and/or development:

sed -i "s|.*bind-address\s*=.*|bind-address=|g" /etc/mysql/my.cnf
sed -i "s|.*bind-address\s*=.*|bind-address=|g" /etc/my.cnf.d/mariadb-server.cnf

  • So we are a simple install and not are in domain controller, dont search for hostnames to improve performance responses (ideal for local only servers):

sed -i "s|.*skip-networking.*|skip-networking|g" /etc/mysql/my.cnf
sed -i "s|.*skip-networking.*|skip-networking|g" /etc/my.cnf.d/mariadb-server.cnf

Updating or comming from upgrading

Mayor Upgrades beetween Alpine linux version are so easy as change the repository version, but the MySQL/MariaDB engine need some extra steps when this are performed:

Upgrade databases on major releases Upon a major version release of mariadb (for example mariadb-10.1.10-1 to mariadb-10.1.18-1), it is wise to upgrade databases:

  1. keep the old database (mysql sheme) structure of the engine daemon, currently this are not more the case, today this not make sense anymore
  2. upgrade the MariaDB/MySQL packages, of course with must be done if the upgrade process to mayor alpine version does not!
  3. run the mysql_upgrade -u root -p script, providing the password or root, (from the new package version) against the old still-running database (mysql sheme). This will produce some error messages; however, the upgrade will succeed.
  4. Restart the service

If are unable to run mysql_upgrade because MySQL cannot start try run MySQL in safemode with mysqld_safe --datadir=/var/lib/mysql/ command and then run the mysql_upgrade -u root -p script.

See Also