MariaDB Corporation has a MariaDB vs MySQL whitepaper available for download.

More Storage Engines

In addition to the standard MyISAM, BLACKHOLE, CSV, MEMORY, ARCHIVE, and MERGE storage engines, the following are also included with MariaDB Source and Binary packages:

Speed improvements

  • A lot of optimizer enhancements in MariaDB 5.3. Subqueries are now finally usable! The complete list and a comparison with MySQL is here. A benchmark can be found here.
  • Faster and safer replication: Group commit for the binary log. This makes many setups that uses replication and lot's of updates more than 2x times faster.
  • Parallel replication. new in 10.0
  • Improvements for Innodb asynchronous IO subsystem on Windows.
  • Indexes for the MEMORY(HEAP) engine are faster. According to a simple test, 24% faster on INSERT for integer index and 60% faster for index on a CHAR(20) column.
  • Segmented Key Cache for MyISAM. Can speed up MyISAM tables with up to 4x. new in 5.2
  • Adjustable hash size for MyISAM and Aria. This can greatly improve shutdown time (from hours to minutes) if you are using a lot of MyISAM/Aria tables with delayed keys. new in 10.0.13
  • CHECKSUM TABLE is faster.
  • We improved the performance of character set conversions (and removed conversions when they were not really needed). Overall speed improvement is 1-5 % (according to sql-bench) but can be higher for big results sets with all characters between 0x00-0x7f.
  • Pool of Threads in MariaDB 5.1 and even better in MariaDB 5.5. This allows MariaDB to run with 200,000+ connections and with a notable speed improvement when using many connections.
  • There are some improvements to the DBUG code to make its execution faster when debug is compiled in but not used.
  • Our use of the Aria storage engine enables faster complex queries (queries which normally use disk-based temporary tables). The Aria storage engine is used for internal temporary tables, which should give a speedup when doing complex selects. Aria is usually faster for temporary tables when compared to MyISAM because Aria caches row data in memory and normally doesn't have to write the temporary rows to disk.
  • The test suite has been extended and now runs much faster than before, even though it tests more things.

Extensions & new features

We've added a lot of new features to MariaDB. If a patch or feature is useful, safe, and stable we make every effort to include it in MariaDB. The most notable features are:

For a full list, please see features for each release

Better Testing

  • More tests in the test suite.
  • Bugs in tests fixed.
  • Test builds with different configure options to get better feature testing.
  • Remove invalid tests. (e.g. don't test feature ''X'' if that feature is not in the tested build)

Fewer warnings and bugs

  • Bugs are bad. Fix as many bugs as possible and try to not introduce new ones.
  • Compiler warnings are also bad. Eliminate as many compiler warnings as possible.

Truly Open Source

  • All code in MariaDB is released under GPL, LGPL or BSD.
  • MariaDB does not have closed source modules like the ones that can be found in MySQL Enterprise Edition. In fact, all the closed source features in MySQL 5.5 Enterprise Edition are found in the MariaDB open source version.
  • MariaDB client libraries (for C, for Java (JDBC), for Windows (ODBC)) are released under LGPL to allow linking with closed source software. MySQL client libraries are released under GPL that does not allow linking with closed source software.
  • MariaDB includes test cases for all fixed bugs. Oracle doesn't provide test cases for new bugs fixed in MySQL 5.5.
  • All bugs and development plans are public.
  • MariaDB is developed by the community in true open source spirit.

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