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Useable guide to first invocation of mariadb - where?

My eventual goal is to install the Debian version of WordPress on my laptop and access it via http://localhost . I did this with incomplete success. It was unclear if there were installation errors or there was a version incompatibility between my reference material an my installation. Situation is complicated by not having records of how did installation and setup last time.

>50 years of experience suggested a completely fresh install of *EVERYTHING*!

I installed Stretch with MATE desktop.
No problem installing Apache2.
I then did
  apt-get install mariadb-client mariadb-server

As user I (reasonably) see:
richard@stretch-2nd:~$ mariadb
ERROR 1698 (28000): Access denied for user 'richard'@'localhost'

As root I see:
root@stretch-2nd:/home/richard# mariadb
Welcome to the MariaDB monitor.  Commands end with ; or \g.
Your MariaDB connection id is 10
Server version: 10.1.22-MariaDB- Debian 9.0

Copyright (c) 2000, 2016, Oracle, MariaDB Corporation Ab and others.

Type 'help;' or '\h' for help. Type '\c' to clear the current input statement.

MariaDB [(none)]>

Therefore mariadb was successfully installed.
*BUT* I find *NOTHING* on the web about first run of mariadb!

Random meandering thru the help system yields documentation of "account management" on the microscopic details (with links into https://mariadb.com/kb/en/mariadb/account-management-sql-commands/ ).

I can create users and associated passwords.
But what *VITAL* things will be missing?

I, myself, will be creating any databases. But I do want to know that all will be ready for the installation of WordPress to function.


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