in reply to
What is your favourite Linux or cross-platform database?
Since you didn't specify relational databases I am going to say Cassandra DB
Cassandra can be thought of as a huge 4-or-5-level associative array, where each dimension of the array gets a free index based on the keys in that level. The real power comes from that optional 5th level in the associative array, which can turn a simple key-value architecture into an architecture where you can now deal with sorted lists, based on an index of your own specification. That 5th level is called a SuperColumn, and it's one of the reasons that Cassandra stands out from the crowd.
Cassandra has no single points of failure, and can scale from one machine to several thousands of machines clustered in different data centers. It has no central master, so any data can be written to any of the nodes in the cluster, and can be read likewise from any other node in the cluster.
It provides knobs that can be tweaked to slide the scale between consistency and availability, depending on your particular application and problem domain. And it provides a high availability guarantee, that if one node goes down, another node will step in to replace it smoothly.
Writing about all the features of Cassandra is a whole different post, but I am convinced that its data model is rich enough to support a wide variety of applications while providing the kind of extreme scalability and high availability features that few other databases can achieve--all while maintaining a lower latency than other solutions out there.