Somehow due to the speed of the internet and my recent vacation I got sidetracked and completely missed some MySQL updates. MySQL has released a new version of the 5.5.x branch which is already usuable in our setup when you read this blogpost. It works perfectly on my test machine. It includes several high-impact changes to address scalability and performance issues in MySQL Server. Read the release notes for all the details.
Luckily the problem with the unlinked libraries that caused problems during compilation with 5.5.10 has gone.
Read this documentation on how to ugrade this version using the package installer of MySQL.