Microsoft Loves Open Source (Servers): SQL Server 2016 Comes to Linux David Ramos/Getty Images

Microsoft Loves Open Source (Servers): SQL Server 2016 Comes to Linux

Microsoft SQL Server 2016 will support Linux-based operating systems, another open source-friendly move by the company.

Add another item to the list of the ways Microsoft (MSFT) is showering the Linux community with love. This week, the company announced that SQL Server, its enterprise database platform, will now run on open source operating systems as well as Windows servers.

Microsoft unveiled the news on March 7 in a blog post complete with a graphic declaring "SQL Server ♥ Linux." The extension of the platform to support Linux-based operating systems is part of a broader set of updates that Microsoft is introducing with the release of SQL Server 2016, it said.

The big catch for open source fans is that SQL Server is not actually becoming open source. That makes this move different from some other recent Linux-friendly announcements by Microsoft, like the open-sourcing of Visual Studio Code in November.

What the change will do is make it possible to run SQL Server on Linux-based operating systems. At this point that seems only natural, given that almost one quarter of the servers running in Microsoft's Azure cloud are now based on Linux. Making more Microsoft enterprise software products compatible with Linux environments is good not just for open source users who want more options, but also for Microsoft.

If you're waiting for Microsoft to release desktop software products for Linux, you probably shouldn't hold your breath. So far, all of the company's catering to the Linux community has focused on the server market, not desktops. There's no reason to think Microsoft Office will start running natively on Ubuntu anytime soon (which doesn't really matter anyway because Office already runs quite well via Wine).

But for the enterprise Linux world, at least, bridging the Windows/Linux divide is now easier than ever. And there's yet another database platform available for open source environments.

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