“We are delighted to be working with Microsoft as it brings SQL Server to Linux,” said Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical, in the statement. “Customers are already taking advantage of Azure Data Lake services on Ubuntu, and now developers will be able to build modern applications that utilize SQL Server’s enterprise capabilities.”
While there are, of course, numerous well-tested paid and Open Source relational database options for Linux servers, you can imagine a couple of scenarios where it would make sense to run SQL Server. An example that comes to mind is a shop running mostly Windows Server with SQL Server, but that has a few groups that prefer Linux servers and wants to reduce maintenance and backup efforts by running SQL Server on both platforms. And, it gives Microsoft the ability to pitch its database management solutions to all-Linux server shops who were unapproachable until now.
Microsoft has come a long way since that fateful day on June 1, 2001 when then Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was quoted by the Chicago Sun-Times as saying, “Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches,” in reference to its GNU General Public License (GPL). To its credit, Microsoft started up itsOpen Source Lab just a few years later in 2004. I visited the Open Source Labs twice during its run. (My commentary from the second of my two visits in 2007 can be found here.)
In 2012, the Microsoft Open Technologies subsidiary opened its doors with a mission to “accelerate Microsoft’s open collaboration with the industry by delivering critical interoperable technologies in partnership with open source and open standards communities.” Although it shut down in April 2015, it is clear that today’s Microsoft is fully engaged with the open source community, with announcements such as this week’s SQL Server for Linux and last month’s purchase of Xamarin, which had pivoted from its original goal of creating an open source version of the Microsoft .NET Framework to focusing on cross-platform mobile app development using C# and .NET.