Why switch from Oracle to MySQL at all.
I got an email from Curt Monash, the president of Monash Information Services this morning. He raised a good point, why would you want to switch to MySQL from Oracle? You can check out his blog here http://www.dbms2.com/ which just a quick look will give you an indication on why he's asking.
This site isn't really meant to be a MySQL properganda page. I became interested in MySQL development mainly because I wanted to try and implement something along the lines of Oracle's PL/SQL Web tool kit and that took me along a path of looking at MySQL's new Version 5.0 and it's implementation of Stored Procedures.
But what I did find was that despite the fact Oracle and MySQL are supposed to support ANSI standard SQL there are enough differences to annoy your average Oracle developer. This blog is aimed at those people who have been using Oracle for some time but just want to get to know those little tricks they used with Oracle but in MySQL.
So back to the question of why you might want to switch. The first and most obvious answer is that for most purposes MySQL is free. You can download and install Oracle as a developer with out cost but to use it in a production environment is expensive. Secondly and somewhat related to the first point is that a large majority of basic web hosting packages provide support for MySQL. As a database Oracle and MySQL are pretty comparable, but it's some of the advance features that might make a large corporation go for Oracle, but do you need them. I've worked with Oracle for a number of years and used only a few of the more advanced features, you just don't need them most of the time.
The final thing to say is that the staff at MySQL are extremely responsive both in terms of contact with reagards to bugs and feature requests and also on a personall level. I have written a number of white papers and web content on MySQL 5.0, and without any prompting on my part I have had a lot of communication with MySQL staff on the subject. It seems they appreciate what the community at large is doing and see that as a central part of their future plans.
So in summary, it's free in most cases, it's well supported by web hosting companies, it has all the features you need for a small to medium database (if not a large one) and MySQL are open, friendly and a joy to deal with.