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As noted in my earlier post, the future of MySQL is in a pretty precarious situation. I'd certainly be evaluating alternatives for any new projects. Don't pay any attention to what Oracle says. Just look at what they do. Actions are louder than words.
I use MySQL for most things because it requires the least configuration for things like Drupal, Mediawiki, and other open source web based applications. It is now feature rich enough that I don't miss anything and it is very simple to administer. It literally requires almost zero effort. And that is the way it should be in my opinion.
For the Java guys....
I have to add Derby/Cloudscape/Java DB or whatever you want to call it now. It is great for things that are bigger than what should exist in memory. Obviously this is a Java based choice and with the inclusion in Java 6 it makes structured, efficient storage easy. It also works well in embedded mode in applications. Since it is integrated with the latest version of Glassfish, it is easy to get your database up and running quickly.
I mock my data access for unit testing, but HSQLDB (used to be called Hypersonic) can be good for in memory stuff.
I'm kind of sorry to see Firebird falling. I used to really like it, but MySQL has gotten so much better it is not worth the effort to set up Firebird anymore. Postgres is usually added effort as well, but it is really good RDBMS. If I needed better performance, I'd go Postres or Firebird, but I haven't seen a need beyond MySQL in the last few years. Basically, I end up using MySQL because it comes with Slackware and it is easy to run Drupal on it.
I used to maintain several database servers simultaneously, but it is not worth the effort for my needs. At any given time I had 5 or 6 RDBMS's running. I'm over that now, MySQL is enough.