Open Database Connectivity

From ArchWiki

Open Database Connectivity, commonly ODBC, is an open specification for providing application developers with a predictable API with which to access Data Sources. An ODBC engine needs drivers to be able to interact with databases.

ODBC engines

You have two options to chose from: unixODBC and iODBC. Apparently unixODBC is more widely supported. This document shows how to set up unixODBC. First to access your database on your localhost and then extends the steps to configure MySQL to allow remote access through ODBC.

Additionally you can choose from various Devart ODBC drivers for SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, SQLite, Firebird, PostgreSQL, Interbase.


Install the unixodbc package.


Driver are declared in /etc/odbcinst.ini, and connections in /etc/odbc.ini. More instruction at each driver section.



FreeTDS is a set of libraries for Unix and Linux that allows your programs to natively talk to Microsoft SQL Server and Sybase databases. Technically speaking, FreeTDS is an open source implementation of the TDS (Tabular Data Stream) protocol used by these databases for their own clients.


Install the freetds package.


Driver          = /usr/lib/
UsageCount      = 1

The configuration file of FreeTDS itself is /etc/freetds/freetds.conf.


Myodbc is ODBC driver/connector for mariadb.


Install the mariadb-connector-odbcAUR package.


Starting with odbcinst.ini, which lists all installed drivers.

Description     = ODBC Driver for MySQL
Driver          = /usr/lib/
FileUsage       = 1


sqliteodbc is ODBC driver/connector for sqlite.


Install the sqliteodbcAUR package.


Starting with odbcinst.ini, which lists all installed drivers.

Description=SQLite ODBC Driver


Microsoft SQL Server 2000

Driver      = FreeTDS
#Trace       = Yes
#TraceFile   = /tmp/odbc
Servername  = server_name
Database    = database_name
host = # Host name or IP address.
port = 1433 # Default port.
tds version = 7.1
client charset = UTF-8

SQL Server ODBC driver connection strings and configuration guide


Set up your data sources in /etc/odbc.ini (system wide) or ~/.odbc.ini (current user). If a data source is defined in both of these files, the one in your home directory take precedence.

Description     = MySQL database test
Driver          = MySQL
Server          = localhost
Database        = test
Port            = 3306
Socket          = /var/run/mysqld/mysqld.sock
Option          =
Stmt            =

MariaDB ODBC driver connection strings and configuration guide

Create a test database

Create a new database "test". You can use one of the MySQL front-ends such as mysql-workbench, or the command-line mysqladmin command:

$ mysqladmin -h localhost -u root -p create test

Testing the ODBC

To test the ODBC connection

$ isql MySQL-test

If the connection is established, you will see

| Connected!                            |
|                                       |
| sql-statement                         |
| help [tablename]                      |
| quit                                  |
|                                       |

If you have a problem connecting then check the error message by running

$ isql MySQL-test -v

A couple useful websites

This website got me going on ODBC with MySQL but left out some things that were necessary for me to get isql up and running. However this might be a good reference for the OpenOffice part.

To work around error messages this URL proved helpful so here it is as well.

Virtuoso / SPARQL

[ODBC Data Sources]
VOS = Virtuoso

Driver = virtuoso-odbc
Description = Virtuoso Open-Source Edition
Address = localhost:1111
Driver = /usr/lib/

Opening a connection using the default credentials (username: "dba", password: "dba"):

$ isql VOS dba dba


Setup odbc.ini by assign the sqlite file location.

[ODBC Data Sources]
sampleDB            = SQLite3 Driver

Driver      = /usr/lib/
Description = Sample DB
database    = /home/db/sample.sqlite