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MySQL is a relational database management system (RDBMS) based on SQL (Structured Query Language). First released in January, 1998, MySQL is now one component of parent company MySQL AB's product line of database servers and development tools. Many Internet startups became interested in the original open source version of MySQL as an alternative to the proprietary database systems from Oracle, IBM, and Informix. MySQL is currently available under two different licensing agreements: free of charge, under the GNU General Public License (GPL) open source system or through subscription to MySQL Network for business applications.
MySQL runs on virtually all platforms, including Linux, Unix, and Windows. It is fully multi-threaded using kernel threads, and provides application program interfaces (APIs) for many programming languages, including C, C++, Eiffel, Java, Perl, PHP, Python, and Tcl.
MySQL is used in a wide range of applications, including data warehousing, e-commerce, Web databases, logging applications and distributed applications. It is also increasingly embedded in third-party software and other technologies. According to MySQL AB, their flagship product has over six million active MySQL installations worldwide. Customers include Cisco, Dun & Bradstreet, Google, NASA, Lufthansa, Hyperion, and Suzuki.