There are many reasons for it, but in bottom line in open source you should look for the community.
MySQL CE, MariaDB or Percona DB?
Well every one should make their decisions. However, you should decide if you are looking for commercial support or community support. If you are looking for commercial support, choose the company that you most trust (and gives you the best deal).
If you are looking for community support take a look where community is, check if the forums are active and if bugs that are being reported by the community are being taken care of. Finally search on Linkedin. It's a great way to sense where the wind blows.
What Should You Expect?
Faster releases, better response to community, some performance boost and in the bottom line: no change is need from your client side.
How to Migrate?
Migration currently is very simple, just like upgrading to a new major MySQL release:
sudo service mysql stop
sudo cp -R /var/lib/mysql /var/lib/mysql.old
sudo cp -R /etc/mysql/my.cnf /etc/mysql/my.cnf.old
- Uninstall MySQL
dpkg --get-selections | grep -v deinstall | grep -i mysql
sudo apt-get purge -y percona-toolkit
sudo apt-get purge -y php5-mysql
sudo apt-get purge -y libmysqlclient18 mysql-client mysql-client-5.5 mysql-client-core-5.5 mysql-common mysql-server mysql-server-5.5 mysql-server-core-5.5
- Install MariaDBsudo apt-get install software-properties-common
sudo apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver hkp://keyserver.ubuntu.com:80 0xcbcb082a1bb943db
sudo add-apt-repository 'deb http://sfo1.mirrors.digitalocean.com/mariadb/repo/10.0/ubuntu trusty main'
sudo apt-get -y update
sudo apt-get -y dist-upgrade
sudo apt-get install mariadb-server mariadb-client percona-toolkit
- Select your root password
sudo mysql_upgrade -uroot -p
That's all. You will not need to change any client or recompile them.
Migration is easier then you may expect, now you can test and verify if it fits your needs.