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I'd like to know which database application to use. I'm coming from Windows, and I'm looking for a free equivalent of MS Access, or MS Works running under linux. I couldn't find any package about this on my Mandrake Distribution.
thing abuot Access, is that, well.. it's a toy. I think it actually is the least industry standard database used in business, and has very poor support for cool things.
on your cd's in MySQL, that's Structured Query Language, which i the foundation of database standards. MySQL isn't terrifically standard either, but a damn sight closer than access. As it's intended for real use, it's server-client based, as a database should be, rather than a highly restrictive flat application like access. So install all erm.. 3(?) MySQL rpms and go from there. I think there aer some front ends for it, but i only ever used the standard command line for it.
Access is very good for a lot of things. The pure SQL databases that linux has is over kill for a lot of things (like cutting butter with a chain saw or using a freight train to deliver home mail). Again, "Use the right tool for the job". Unfortunately Linux does not have any small database programs that are suited for the smaller jobs. The closest I have found is Paradox in the WordperfectOffice Suite, and it's still a little heavy for some things.
You would be best to learn SQL and write a back end and then find a good front end and then write a front end for your back end. You can split your Access database and then move the back end into SQL. Then find a front end for the SQL. This is What I had to do but I still haven't found a decent front end. What this amounts to is; you will be able to save all of your tables and data but the rest will be a complete re-write.
Being new myself, I understand your quandry. I just obtained a copy of StarOffice 5.2 and it does have a database program included, I think the name is Adabas. While I have been pretty busy with school and not had a whole lot of time to play, I think this might be a good solution for you.
Now (climbing up on my soap box), please do not bash MS Access. While I would not call this the ultimate DB solution on any platform, and I certainly would not say that it is ideal for an enterprise level application, it does work, well, everytime. In the last three years that I have been developing custom DB apps with Access, I have yet to encounter a problem with the program. Most of the problems have been user logic, not program logic. When I was asked to develop a custom app for a national convention registration and tracking system, Access was my choice. Betweeen cost and usefulness, there was no other DB that gave me what I needed that could be done without making it my full time job. Oh, yeah, not to mention, just about anyone can use my data.
So, as I said, it's not the perfect solution for everything. But, for just getting a workable RDB, Access is better than taking college level courses in SQL just to keep track of your video collection or club membership.