I previously mentioned ax_check_mysql.m4 in one of my posts, an m4 macro written for autoconf. So here's a bit more information about it, and some examples on how to use it.


So ax_check_mysql is essentially an m4 macro for autoconf that was written with MySQL plugin developers in mind. When one runs the macro, a detected MySQL installation will give you the following information:

  • The path to the directory containing the MySQL executables
  • The path to the directory containing MySQL includes (if they exist)
  • The path to the directory where MySQL plugins go
  • The version of MySQL
  • Whether MySQL is 32 or 64 bit

Basically providing most of the information, MySQL-wise, needed to install the plugin.

In the situation where an installation can not be detected or an incomplete one is found, arguments can also be entered manually with:


(where the root directory of the MySQL installation is passed (such as /usr/local/mysql or some other custom directory)  and

--with-mysql-command, --with-mysql-plugin, --with-mysql-include

Which would just passing all the directories directly.


One can include the macro in the same fashion as any other macro in the configure.ac file:


Now if I run this script on a computer with MySQL installed, you should something along the lines of:

$ autoconf && ./configurechecking for gcc... gccchecking whether the C compiler works... yeschecking for C compiler default output file name... a.outchecking for suffix of executables...checking whether we are cross compiling... nochecking for suffix of object files... ochecking whether we are using the GNU C compiler... yeschecking whether gcc accepts -g... yeschecking for gcc option to accept ISO C89... none neededchecking how to run the C preprocessor... gcc -Echecking for grep that handles long lines and -e... /bin/grepchecking for egrep... /bin/grep -Echecking for ANSI C header files... yeschecking for sys/types.h... yeschecking for sys/stat.h... yeschecking for stdlib.h... yeschecking for string.h... yeschecking for memory.h... yeschecking for strings.h... yeschecking for inttypes.h... yeschecking for stdint.h... yeschecking for unistd.h... yesTesting if MySQL was installed to common source/binary directorychecking for mysql... noTesting if MySQL was installed to common package manager directorychecking for mysql... yeschecking /usr/include/mysql/mysql_version.h/mysql_version.h usability... nochecking /usr/include/mysql/mysql_version.h/mysql_version.h presence...nochecking for /usr/include/mysql/mysql_version.h/mysql_version.h... nochecking /usr/include/mysql_version.h/mysql_version.h usability... nochecking /usr/include/mysql_version.h/mysql_version.h presence... nochecking for /usr/include/mysql_version.h/mysql_version.h... nochecking if /usr/lib/mysql/plugin/ exists...... yeschecking for mysql... /usr/bin/configure: WARNING: A package install was detected, but the include directory could not be found! MySQL development library may not be installed. If development library is installed please use --with-mysql-include --with-mysql-plugin --with-mysql-command to manually assign directory locationschecking MySQL Architecture... 32checking MySQL Version... 5.1.41checking if MySQL install supports Plugins... yeschecking if MySQL version is equal or greater than 5.0... yesconfigure: yesconfigure: /usr/bin/

Note that the last two lines of output were echoing the MYSQL and MYSQL_COMMAND variables respectively, and that I do not have the development library installed. A full list of variables available are listed in the documentation.

One can pass four arguments when running the macro:

MYSQL-PLUGIN-NEEDED: if the MySQL version doesn't support plugins (< 5.1), this will cause failure.

MYSQL-REQUIRED: say if MySQL is required or not.

MINIMUM-VERSION: minimum version required for MySQL (i.e. 5.0 or 5.5)

INCLUDES-REQUIRED: whether the MySQL includes are required (will fail if includes are not found)

For example, If I wanted MySQL 5.5 or higher, I could enter:


And as my MySQL installation is 5.1.41, ./configure will fail:

checking MySQL Architecture... 32checking MySQL Version... 5.1.41checking if MySQL install supports Plugins... yeschecking if MySQL version is equal or greater than 5.5... noconfigure: error: installed MySQL version is not above 5.5. Please upgrade your version of MySQL

Entering nothing in the version field will allow any version.

Warnings will be outputted instead of errors if components aren't required (such as includes or MySQL itself).

And there's a brief example! Feel free to comment or contact me (tsutsumi.yusuke@gmail.com) if there are any questions/ comments.

The script is maintained by myself on github:



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About Yusuke Tsutsumi
I work at Zillow. I focus on tools and services for developer productivity, including build and testing.

My other interests include programming language design, game development, and learning languages (the non-programming ones).