Good news, mysql-server package doesn’t suck miserably on Debian 5.0 or Ubuntu 8.10, unlike previous versions did (there were quite a few rants about CHECK TABLES being ran on huge healthy InnoDB tables, mysqld_safe would suddenly use 100% CPU, binlogs would be placed on /var/run/ and cleaned up on restart, etc).
Now, Ubuntu provides you with AppArmor (my new favorite security thing :) profile that doesn’t suck either, and Debian is a bit rude:
There is ‘tasksel’ tool, which allows you to install groups of packages. Debian has a task ‘Database server’ which will install PostgreSQL. Ubuntu is more politically correct and has renamed that task to “PostgreSQL server”.
MySQL has to do quite some work to repair its image in OS-engineer-geek mindsets, these people tend to love PG more, and once project is community-led, most active participants win the decisive power.
Quite important to look at versions – Ubuntu Intrepid carries 5.0.67, and Debian carries 5.0.51. As I’m way more exposed to everyday issues within MySQL, I value distributions that don’t just backport security fixes, but use MySQL bugfix releases way more proactively. The difference between those two versions has a nearly full year of performance, stability and feature maturity work (and thats really LOTS of real hard intensive work by my teammates). Debian will probably stay at that exact version, unless one uses ‘testing’ or ‘unstable’ packages – so over time the gap will just widen.
Oh, and why I ended up writing this today – Ubuntu/Canonical people were really nice and open, and tried to get as much as possible of feedback to make MySQL shine on their distribution. Gotta say, they’re already leading :)