Screenshot from an OSX preference pane for MySQL, with a single button reading “Start MySQL Server,” and a single checkbox reading “Automatically Start MySQL Server on Startup”

The Most Insulting Preference Pane in the World

Published 2009-02-06

... because the hardest part of using MySQL is turning it on? Seriously, the only GUI they cared to provide for a production grade database was a single button. This is like making cars easier to drive by writing “put hands here” on the steering wheel.

I spent three hours getting MySQL running on my Macbook today and now I’m cranky.


The icing on the cake is that this button doesn’t appear to work anyway. And pushing it hangs System Preferences. Although, to be fair, it does accurately reflect the state of mysqld if I start it by typing mysqld_safe & in the Terminal.

Update 2015-03-17

Following is a comment (and my reply) from this post on my old blog

I fail to see your point, have you tried phpmyadmin? Thats the only GUI you want, it runs in that thing we call a browser. And if you desperatly want it to be a desktop app with lots of preferences then you could Googlge that... or write your own desktop settings pane.

— Jonas

The fact that so many people who spend all day with MySQL fail to see the point, that's the problem.I need MySQL to do my job but my job's not doing MySQL. There is a whole class of users who are capable of doing things but find it unproductive to do them. This prefpane betrays a worldview with an enormous blind spot for users like that.Can you see why I use the word insulting? It isn't just "unhelpful" or "hard to use." It's actually insulting. If you aren't a hardcore Techno Wizard who can write his own prefpanes, well you must be a Total Idiot who can't possibly be helped, so shiny buttons should do just fine. And, BTW, when someone complains that a (nonfunctional) prefpane is insulting, responding with "write your own prefpane" ... how is that somehow less insulting?

— Me