Connecting to MySQL with ODBC on Mono

We had a visitor on #mono today who needed help with his homework. It seems that Reggie is happy to have forgotten everything about using ODBC to connect to MySQL. I was curious and feeling helpful, so I figured it out.

Install the MySQL ODBC driver

$ sudo apt-get install libmyodbc

You can also grab the package directly from MySQL

Configure the MySQL ODBC driver

ODBC looks in /etc/odbcinst.ini for driver configuration. In order to let it know about the MySQL ODBC libraries, append the following to your /etc/odbcinst.ini file:

Description	= MySQL driver
Driver	= /usr/lib/odbc/
Setup		= /usr/lib/odbc/
CPTimeout	=
CPReuse	=	

Configure your DSN

If you expect that you will be using this database connection often, you may want to create a short name for it, so you don’t have to enter all of the parameters every time you want to connect. ODBC uses something called DSNs (Data Source Names, if I recall correctly) to make it easier on the user.

If you want to create a DSN, append something like the following to your /etc/odbc.ini file:

Driver       = MySQL
Description  = MySQL ODBC 3.51 Driver DSN
Server       = mysql
Port         =
User         = testuser
Password     = password
Database     = test
Option       = 3   
Socket       = 

You will also need to update the ODBC Data Sources list near the top of the file to mention the new DSN:

[ODBC Data Sources]
myodbc3     = MySQL ODBC 3.51 Driver DSN 

C♯ ODBC connection example

Here is some example code to get you connected:

using System;
using System.Data;
using System.Data.Odbc;

class ODBCTest {
  public static void Main(String[] args) {
    // Connection string using explicit parameters                              
    string ConStr = String.Format(
      "{MySQL}","mysql","test","testuser","password" );

    // Connection string using DSN                                              
//  string ConStr = String.Format("DRIVER={0};DSN={1}",                         
//                                "{MySQL}","myodbc3");                       

    //Create the connection object                                              
    var OdbcCon = new OdbcConnection( ConStr );

    try {
      Console.Write("Opening connection... ");

      //open the database connection                                            
      if (OdbcCon.State == ConnectionState.Closed)

      Console.WriteLine("connection opened!");
    } catch (OdbcException Ex) {
    } finally {
      //close the database connection                                           
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One response to “Connecting to MySQL with ODBC on Mono”

  1. Hey CJ

    When I have friends like you why do I need to know it? :) libmysql is like ASM and libODBC is like C. I’ve moved on to C# and don’t want to look back!

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