I did some experimentation just now, and could not get mysql to accept a
command longer than about 1 million bytes. It complains about Got a packet bigger than 'max_allowed_packet' bytes
which seems a bit odd because max_allowed_packet is allegedly set to
16 million, but anyway I don't think people are going to be loading any
million-row tables using single INSERT commands in mysql either.


Ah no, I'm mistaken. It's not by default in mysqldump, but it does seem "recommended". This is from "man mysqldump":

       -e|--extended-insert
              Allows utilization of the new, much faster INSERT syntax.


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