Announcing Portable MariaDB: Small, portable binary MariaDB distribution for Linux

Portable MariaDB is a small, portable binary distribution of the SQL server MariaDB (Monty's fork of MySQL) for Linux i386 (32-bit). Only the mysqld binary and a versatile init script are included. Portable MariaDB can be run by any user in any directory, it doesn't try to access any mysqld data or config files outside its directory. Portable MariaDB can coexist with regular mysqld (MySQL or MariaDB) and other instances of Portable MariaDB on a single machine, as long as they are not configured to listen on the same TCP port. The only dependency of Portable MariaDB is glibc 2.4 (available in Ubuntu Hardy or later).

The most up-to-date documentation of Portable MariaDB is here.

The sources are here.

Why use Portable MariaDB?

  • It's small (not bloated). Fast to dowload, fast to extract, fast to install. Quick size comparison: mariadb-5.2.9-Linux-i686.tar.gz is 144 MB, the corresponding Portable MariaDB .tbz2 is less than 6 MB.
  • It's portable: does not interfere with other MySQL server installations on the same machine.
  • It's self-contained and consistent: copy the database and the configuration in a single directory from one machine to another.


To run Portable MariaDB, you need a Linux system with glibc 2.4 (e.g. Ubuntu Hardy) or later. 32-bit and 64-bit systems are fine. For 64-bit systems you need the 32-bit compatibility libraries installed. You also need Perl.

  $ cd /tmp  # Or any other with write access.
  $ BASE=https://raw.githubusercontent.com/pts/portable-mariadb/master/release
  $ #OLD: wget -O portable-mariadb.tbz2 $BASE/portable-mariadb-5.2.9.tbz2
  $ wget -O portable-mariadb.tbz2 $BASE/portable-mariadb-5.5.46.tbz2
  $ tar xjvf portable-mariadb.tbz2
  $ chmod 700 /tmp/portable-mariadb  # For security.
  $ /tmp/portable-mariadb/mariadb_init.pl stop-set-root-password


For security, don't do anything as root.

  $ cd /tmp/portable-mariadb
  $ ./mariadb_init.pl restart
  Connect with: mysql --socket=/tmp/portable-mariadb/mysqld.sock --user=root --database=test --password
  Connect with: mysql --host= --user=root --database=test --password

Feel free to take a look at /tmp/portable-mariadb/my.cnf, make modifications, and restart mysqld so that the modifications take effect.


By default, connections are accepted from localhost (Unix domain socket and TCP) only, all MySQL users are refused (except if a password has been set for root above), and root has unrestricted access. Unix permissions (such as the chmod 700 above) are protecting against data theft and manipulation on the file level.

It is strongly recommended to change the password of root to a non-empty, strong password before populating the database.

Java support

Java clients with JDBC (MySQL Connector/J) are fully supported. Please note that Java doesn't support Unix doman socket, so make sure in my.cnf that mysqld listens on a TCP port. Please make sure you have ?characterEncoding=UTF8 specified in your JDBC connection URL, otherwise some non-ASCII, non-Latin-1 characters would be converted to ?.

Unicode support

Just as with MariaDB. All encodings and collations are supported. The latin1 encoding is the default, which can be changed in my.cnf.

Language support

All natural languages (of MariaDB) are supported for error messages. Set the `language' flag in my.cnf accordingly. English is the default.


Unknown said...


I've been using your portable mariadb and it is perfect to use in local development and demos but it's a bit old.
I've tried to build the portable database using your script with the latest Mariadb version but I have not succeeded.

Can you please update your binary or at least give an updated script?


Unknown said...

Hello again:

I've modified the script a little and been able to generate the portable db with MariadDB 5.5.46, but there are too many changes in 10.x series that need more work.
If you want my binary distribution let me know and I share with you.

pts said...

@Andres Dominguez Belloso: Please upload your MariaDB 5.5.46 script somewhere and share the link. I'll update binaries available from here accordingly.

Unknown said...


Here is the link with the modified script.

It's fast and working. We can have a 5 years new database!!

Unknown said...


I forgot to send you the modified init script. It's necesary as languages are not anymore in share/mysql.

Here is the new script.

pts said...

@Andres Dominguez Belloso: Thank you for the scripts! I've created the new portable-mariadb.tbz2 and updated the blog post with the new download link.