Ruby on Rails Mysql::Error: Unknown system variable 'NAMES': SET NAMES 'utf8'

by Cliff 11. January 2009

If you receive the following error message Mysql::Error: Unknown system variable 'NAMES': SET NAMES 'utf8' when trying to run MySQL with ruby on rails it may be due to the version of MySQL you are running.  I was receiving this error when running a basic ROR app as well as when trying to run a migration rake db:migrate.

Turns out I was using MySQL version 4.0.12-nt which is not supported with the most recent version of rails. 

 I had MySQL 5.1 running on a different port, so I also needed to update the database.yml file to specify the port.  If you need to specify a MySQL port with rails, you need to add port: to the yml file...mine ended up looking like: 

  host: localhost
  port: 3307

 With those changes in place, I was then able to run my rails app and migrations.

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Cliff Gray
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