Release date: 10 Sep 2011
MariaDB 5.3.1 is a Beta release. In general this means that there are no known serious bugs, except for those marked as feature requests. MariaDB 5.3 radically improves performance for subqueries as well as for joins and single-table queries over large data sets.
For a list of every change made in MariaDB 5.3.1, with links to detailed information on each push, see the MariaDB 5.3.1 Changelog. It is worth noting that MariaDB 5.3 is built on MariaDB 5.2, MariaDB 5.1, and MySQL 5.1.
In most respects MariaDB will work exactly as MySQL: all commands, interfaces, libraries and APIs that exist in MySQL also exist in MariaDB.
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MariaDB may already be included in your favorite OS distribution. More information can be found on the Distributions which Include MariaDB page.