Big news: this year Microsoft has joined the Linux Foundation as a platinum member.
Microsoft contributed a lot to Linux over the past several years, first of all, with improving support for Hyper-V. The company appears to be a reasonably good open source community member, not just publishing source code repositories that are sporadically updated from an internal development branch, but actually performing development in the open community contributions and being open for discussion and finding consensus regarding new features.
Another surprise is that Google is joining the .NET Foundation and will be part of the Steering Group. Even though some parts of Google worked well with some Microsoft projects (Angular framework written in TypeScript language and Visual Studio Code), this still feels like a surprising move. Google has shown little interest in .NET and, with Android, is in fact heavily invested in Java, .NET’s major competitor. However, .NET is still a major part of corporate development, and it might serve the company well to improve .NET support in Google Cloud Platform.
Samsung, which is already a member of the .NET Foundation, is releasing a preview of Visual Studio Tools for Tizen, allowing developers to build .NET applications for Samsung’s non-Android smart devices, such as TVs, wearables, and Internet of Things gizmos.
SQL Server 2016 Service Pack 1 is also out, and it has a difference to the previous ones. Traditionally, the different versions of SQL Server have offered different features. With same core engine, some capabilities, like in-memory transactional databases, were only available in the more expensive versions. This made it hard for developers to justify using those features, forcing them to stick with the Standard feature set and ignore Enterprise capabilities.
Service Pack 1 makes all SQL Server versions functionally identical, having differences only in terms of the number of processor cores and amount of RAM they can use, which is basically the only difference between SKUs. Microsoft expects that this will result in greater adoption of previously high-end features such as data warehousing and transparent database encryption. The similar change happened to Windows Server licensing a few years ago, broadly unifying features across SKUs, using the different price points to manage hardware scaling and virtual machine licensing.
In addition, the company is releasing a preview edition of the next version of SQL Server—for Windows and, for the first time, Linux. In developing SQL Server for Linux, the company claims that it has strived to make the database engine work and act like a native Linux application as much as possible. Installation, for example, will use RPM or DEB packages (depending on distribution), and it will support running within Docker containers. Microsoft is not offering full feature parity in this release, but it says that all the major engine features, including the in-memory capabilities and encryption, will be cross-platform. Major administration will continue to use the Visual Studio-based tooling that the Windows edition uses; for most intents and purposes, the two versions should be interchangeable.
SQL Server for Linux has a rich and diverse feature set (especially with the feature unification across SKUs) and is typically somewhat cheaper than Oracle, which makes it appealing even to the Linux users.
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