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MySQL and Linux/Unix  /  Linux Notes  /  Linux Source Distribution Notes

3.3 Linux Source Distribution Notes

The following notes regarding glibc apply only to the situation when you build MySQL yourself. If you are running Linux on an x86 machine, in most cases it is much better for you to use our binary. We link our binaries against the best patched version of glibc we can find and with the best compiler options, in an attempt to make it suitable for a high-load server. For a typical user, even for setups with a lot of concurrent connections or tables exceeding the 2GB limit, our binary is the best choice in most cases. After reading the following text, if you are in doubt about what to do, try our binary first to determine whether it meets your needs. If you discover that it is not good enough, you may want to try your own build. In that case, we would appreciate a note about it so that we can build a better binary next time.

MySQL uses LinuxThreads on Linux. If you are using an old Linux version that doesn't have glibc2, you must install LinuxThreads before trying to compile MySQL. You can obtain LinuxThreads from

Note that glibc versions before and including version 2.1.1 have a fatal bug in pthread_mutex_timedwait() handling, which is used when INSERT DELAYED statements are issued. Do not use INSERT DELAYED before upgrading glibc.

Note that Linux kernel and the LinuxThread library can by default handle a maximum of 1,024 threads. If you plan to have more than 1,000 concurrent connections, you need to make some changes to LinuxThreads, as follows:

  • Increase PTHREAD_THREADS_MAX in sysdeps/unix/sysv/linux/bits/local_lim.h to 4096 and decrease STACK_SIZE in linuxthreads/internals.h to 256KB. The paths are relative to the root of glibc. (Note that MySQL is not stable with 600 to 1000 connections if STACK_SIZE is the default of 2MB.)

  • Recompile LinuxThreads to produce a new libpthread.a library, and relink MySQL against it.

There is another issue that greatly hurts MySQL performance, especially on SMP systems. The mutex implementation in LinuxThreads in glibc 2.1 is very poor for programs with many threads that hold the mutex only for a short time. This produces a paradoxical result: If you link MySQL against an unmodified LinuxThreads, removing processors from an SMP actually improves MySQL performance in many cases. We have made a patch available for glibc 2.1.3 to correct this behavior (

With glibc 2.2.2, MySQL uses the adaptive mutex, which is much better than even the patched one in glibc 2.1.3. Be warned, however, that under some conditions, the current mutex code in glibc 2.2.2 overspins, which hurts MySQL performance. The likelihood that this condition occurs can be reduced by re-nicing the mysqld process to the highest priority. We have also been able to correct the overspin behavior with a patch, available at It combines the correction of overspin, maximum number of threads, and stack spacing all in one. You need to apply it in the linuxthreads directory with patch -p0 </tmp/linuxthreads-2.2.2.patch. We hope it is included in some form in future releases of glibc 2.2. In any case, if you link against glibc 2.2.2, you still need to correct STACK_SIZE and PTHREAD_THREADS_MAX. We hope that the defaults is corrected to some more acceptable values for high-load MySQL setup in the future, so that the commands needed to produce your own build can be reduced to ./configure; make; make install.

If you use these patches to build a special static version of libpthread.a, use it only for statically linking against MySQL. We know that these patches are safe for MySQL and significantly improve its performance, but we cannot say anything about their effects on other applications. If you link other applications that require LinuxThreads against the patched static version of the library, or build a patched shared version and install it on your system, you do so at your own risk.

If you experience any strange problems during the installation of MySQL, or with some common utilities hanging, it is very likely that they are either library or compiler related. If this is the case, using our binary resolves them.

If you link your own MySQL client programs, you may see the following error at runtime: fatal:
open failed: No such file or directory

This problem can be avoided by one of the following methods:

  • Link clients with the -Wl,r/full/path/to/ flag rather than with -Lpath).

  • Copy to /usr/lib.

  • Add the path name of the directory where is located to the LD_RUN_PATH environment variable before running your client.

If you are using the Fujitsu compiler (fcc/FCC), you may have some problems compiling MySQL because the Linux header files are very gcc oriented. The following configure line should work with fcc/FCC:

CC=fcc CFLAGS="-O -K fast -K lib -K omitfp -Kpreex -D_GNU_SOURCE \
CXX=FCC CXXFLAGS="-O -K fast -K lib \
    -K omitfp -K preex --no_exceptions --no_rtti -D_GNU_SOURCE \
    -DCONST=const -Dalloca=__builtin_alloca -DNO_STRTOLL_PROTO \
    '-D_EXTERN_INLINE=static __inline'" \
./configure \
    --prefix=/usr/local/mysql --enable-assembler \
    --with-mysqld-ldflags=-all-static --disable-shared \

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User Comments
  Posted by on February 18, 2004

1. The statement "Link clients with the -Wl,r/ flag rather than with -Lpath)." is wrong.

I think the flag should be written like


2. The statement "Add the pathname of the directory where `' is located to the LD_RUN_PATH environment variable before running your client." is also wrong as LD_RUN_PATH is referred when compiling, not when running.

  Posted by Mark Callaghan on October 25, 2006
One of the benefits of the statically linked mysqld binary and the LinuxThreads patch is that mysqld will be able to use much more of its address space compared to other mysqld binaries linked with an unpatched LinuxThreads library. The problem is that thread stacks are spaced 2MB apart by LinuxThreads. With the default thread stack size of 192KB, there is a 1.8MB gap between each stack. malloc is able to use 1MB from each gap for small allocation requests. The remainder will only be used when large malloc (> 150KB) requests are made. The result is that there will appear to be much space available in the address space but MySQL can get memory allocation failures because it has lost ~800KB per connection-thread.

This problem does not occur when linked with NPTL.
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