mysql silently failing to start - suggestions? (FIXED!)

John john at
Tue Feb 2 03:13:44 UTC 2010

On Sun, Jan 31, 2010 at 11:35:22PM -0500, Michael Powell wrote:
> John wrote:
> > If this isn't the right list - if I should try another let me know -
> > but since this is the mysql-server-5.4.2 package, and since you
> > folks have been so helpful, I thought I'd give it a go.
> > 
> > Anyway, the system is 8.0-RELEASE and that package is installed,
> > and I can't start the server.  Not only can I not start the server,
> > but it's not giving me a clue.  I can't find anything anywhere.
> > Not in /var/log/messages, not anywhere.  When I run
> >     /usr/local/etc/rc.d/mysqlserver start
> > it says "Starting mysql.", pauses for several seconds (I don't see
> > anything go by in "top") and then the script exits.  At that point,
> > one would expect, there's no /tmp/mysql.sock, there's nothing
> > in messages or anywhere else.  With nothing to go on, well, I don't
> > know where to start.  Any suggestions?
> First is there a mysql_enable="YES" line in /etc/rc.conf? The rc subr 
> startup system requires it and also the complete path as you did type above. 
> Although since it is mysql-server and you got a response I'll assume the 
> above is just a typo here in this mail.
> If you have changed the location of the database files this variable will 
> need setting in /etc/rc.conf as well. The default is /var/db/mysql. Notice 
> this directory should be owned by the mysql:mysql user/group combo. This 
> will allow for the writing of the <machine-hostname>.pid file. There will 
> also be a <machine-hostname>.err file which is the log you need to look at. 
> If these files are not present it is either not getting that far in the 
> startup, or there is a permissions problem. The normal location of the 
> socket is /tmp, which should be permissions 1777 (sticky bit set).
> You do have a line setting the hostname of the machine in /etc/rc.conf too, 
> right? Such as hostname="" for my local dev server at home. 
> This should be resolvable either by DNS or a hosts file. Also, be aware that 
> the location of the my.cnf file is now /usr/local/etc, although should this 
> be missing it should still look for it in /var/db/mysql as a fallback. If 
> this file is world writable MySQL will ignore it.
> The establishment of the mysql user and group should have occurred as part 
> of the port installation. I use ports and not packages, as well as the older 
> version of 5.1.42 so I cannot speak to the efficacy of installing a package 
> of 5.4.x. Perhaps a package problem? Try installing the 5.1.42 port using 
> the ports system instead is one possibility if such may be the case.

Good job, Mike!  You nailed it, though what some of the other helpful
folks wrote had me on the right path, too.  For some reason, the
binary-configure after the pkg_add left everything owned by 
root:wheel.  "cd /mysql ; chown -R mysql:mysql ." was the solution.
After that, everything came out and flew straight!  Somehow, the mysql
user and group got created, but everything was still owned by root:wheel.
Go figure.

Just for the record, my rc.conf had already contained:

Also for the record, the last one is ignored.  The pid file
is still in /mysql/`hostname`.pid

So - for those of you who said "don't try to run it anywhere but
/var/db/mysql" - maybe you're right.  Maybe that's what led,
indirectly, to the ownership not getting set correctly.  But, once
you know the problem, the solution is simple, and it's now doing a
great job of running where I want it to run.

John Lind
john at starfire.MN.ORG

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