background: i installed mysql server on my ubuntu 14.04 aws ec2 server a few nights ago, configured it following guides from reputable sites, and populated it w/ ~80 million rows.

a few times, I received an error when trying to restart mysql:

ERROR 2002 (HY000): Can't connect to local MySQL server through socket '/var/run/mysqld/mysqld.sock' (2)

After a bit of googling/weeping, i was able to restart it w/ these steps:

sudo service mysql stop
sudo rm /var/lib/mysql/ib_logfile0
sudo rm /var/lib/mysql/ib_logfile1
sudo service mysql stop

then, after it was working fine, I moved the data directory to a newly mounted drive, changed appropriate things in my.cnf and my apparmor config, adjusted permissions and, to my surprise, fired mysql right-up.

unfortunately, creating an index threw a disk space error, and i decided to try re-assigning the temp directory to a bigger drive.

after adjusting apparmor and my.cnf settings, the service again failed to start up, as it had days ago. after undoing the changes i'd made, it started again. then, I simply mounted a new drive to the /tmp directory to deal with the storage concerns.

unfortunately, a strong gust must have hit the server farm, b/c mysql died again. this time, nothing i'd done before worked at all. so, i backed up my data, and prepared to re-install mysql.

wow. what a comically difficult process for an ostensibly simple task. after numerous attempts of uninstalling & reinstalling, I finally found a process that seemed to work:

sudo dpkg --purge mysql-client-core-5.5 # or alternative version
sudo dpkg --purge mysql-client
sudo dpkg --purge mysql-server-core-5.5 # or alternative version
sudo dpkg --purge mysql-common
sudo apt-get --purge remove mysql-server
sudo apt-get --purge remove mysql-client
sudo apt-get --purge remove mysql-common
sudo apt-get autoremove
sudo apt-get autoclean
sudo rm -rf /etc/mysql
sudo rm -rf /var/lib/mysql/
sudo dpkg --configure -a
sudo apt-get update

Great. at that point, which mysql and mysql --version both indicated no mysql.

So, I tried to install again, and again got the same problems as before: when trying to set the root password, it threw an error and said a root password had probably already been set. here's the relevant portion of the install spam:

Setting up mysql-server-5.5 (5.5.47-0ubuntu0.14.04.1) ...
160316  1:13:28 [Warning] Using unique option prefix key_buffer instead of key_buffer_size is deprecated and will be removed in a future release. Please use the full name instead.
160316  1:13:28 [Note] /usr/sbin/mysqld (mysqld 5.5.47-0ubuntu0.14.04.1) starting as process 31954 ...
160316  1:13:28 [Warning] Can't create test file /var/lib/mysql/ip-172-31-36-106.lower-test
160316  1:13:28 [Warning] Can't create test file /var/lib/mysql/ip-172-31-36-106.lower-test
start: Job failed to start
invoke-rc.d: initscript mysql, action "start" failed.
dpkg: error processing package mysql-server-5.5 (--configure):
 subprocess installed post-installation script returned error exit status 1
dpkg: dependency problems prevent configuration of mysql-server:
 mysql-server depends on mysql-server-5.5; however:
  Package mysql-server-5.5 is not configured yet.

dpkg: error processing package mysql-server (--configure):
 dependency problems - leaving unconfigured
Processing triggers for libc-bin (2.19-0ubuntu6.6) ...
No apport report written because the error message indicates its a followup error from a previous failure.
                                                                                                          Processing triggers for ureadahead (0.100.0-16) ...
Errors were encountered while processing:
E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (1)
[1]+  Exit 127                /usr/sbin/mysqld

Anyway, now I'm trying to make a Dockerized version work, but that feels like a layer of complexity I don't want.

These symptoms are all over support forums for MySQL, and almost every post has a different accepted answer. So my question is, of course, how do I fix this? But deeper than that, what the heck is going on?

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