In an e-mail to the MySQL-using community, the company's vice president of community relations, Kaj Arno, announced availability of the latest test version of the software. This version -- known as a "release candidate" -- could end up being greenlighted as being suitable for production systems.
"This milestone signals that we are nearing what is certainly the most important release in MySQL's history," said Arno, adding users had downloaded test versions of the upcoming 5.0 release two million times since they were made available.
The executive flagged a raft of new features to the database, some of the most important of which simply bring MySQL into line with commonly accepted programming standards.
"Implementing ANSI SQL standard ways of using existing MySQL features means there will be fewer unpleasant surprises for those migrating to MySQL from other database systems," he wrote.
The complete list of new features includes new storage engines, tools and extensions. Complementary tools like MySQL Query Browser and MySQL Administrator are being updated to work with the new features.
Although the new software is still being tested, Arno encouraged users to use it on their systems anyway.
"We're pleased that we've reached a point of stability where it's been a while since we received a significant inflow of bugs that drastically impacted a large number of users," he wrote.
"With MySQL being that stable, I encourage you to do all of of your new database development using MySQL 5.0," he added.
The software has around six million active installations worldwide, according to MySQL AB, which employs around 175 people.