back to article Linux fans may be in for disappointment with SQL Server 2016 port

Microsoft's decision to bring SQL Server 2016 to Linux caused a bit of a stir this week. However, there is a small catch: we've learned that the first official release of the port, due out in mid-2017, will be missing features compared to its Windows cousin. Yesterday, in New York City, Microsoft showed off a working demo …

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Facepalm

Perfectly understandable

As Linux lacks so many enterprise-scale features compared to Windows Server, it's no wonder only SQL Server lite can be hosted on the shareware OS

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Anonymous Coward

@JJ Carter - Re: Perfectly understandable

Sigh! Just look at the icon you have chosen. It suits you very well.

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Re: Perfectly understandable

Linux supports a lot more CPU cores than Windows, so the idea that Windows has better scalability is ludicrous.

Besides, the limitation isn't "you can use only 2 cores on Linux" but that the business intelligence suite isn't supported. They just decided that releasing the main SQL Server that most people use earlier was preferred over waiting until stuff like BI that a minority use had been ported and fully tested.

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Re: Perfectly understandable

"As Linux lacks so many enterprise-scale features compared to Windows Server"

Strange then that Oracle (spit) seem able to cope - hint : maybe it's not Linux that is lacking

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Linux

Re: Perfectly understandable

He (J J) was joking...I think?

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Re: Perfectly understandable

@JJC

Apart from others comments, I will add go and look up shareware

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Re: Perfectly understandable

Perfectly understandable. Start off with the truly excellent core functionality that everyone uses, and then add the grills incrementally as they're tested and verified. And still at a price point you're pushed to dispute.

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Re: Perfectly understandable

SQL Server Express Edition for Linux then.

Really nothing more or less than would be expected. But if MS have created an abstraction layer between the database and the OS then they've added in unwanted overhead.

Fair enough it's a big complex codebase with a couple of decades of continued development. It will take more than a couple of hours on a Friday morning to hack that one out.

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Re: Perfectly understandable

Re: He (J J) was joking...I think?

Agree, that was the way I read it, mind you did note MS seem to be demonstrating it on Ubuntu rather than Red Hat Enterprise...

I suspect the problem is that English sarcasm, whilst clear and incisive when spoken, looses the mocking spoken tone when written down. The icon used was a reasonable approximation but like sarcasm can easily be misinterpreted.

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Re: Perfectly understandable

"As Linux lacks so many enterprise-scale features compared to Windows Server"

what 'enterprise-scale features' are you referring to?

Oh, perhaps it's windows-specific features. I get it, like maybe 'Active Directory' and things like that. There are _other_ ways to make that *kind* of thing work, you know, NOT just "Microsoft's Way". Some older things like kerberos and LDAP come to mind, if you even need them. Cloud-based authentication for shared resources is rather popular these days, and guess what OS runs the cloud? Pretty much, Linux.

But yeah, this is the kind of FUD you'd expect regarding Linux vs Windows.

On a related note, microsoft is PROBABLY trying to do what they did back when they built Mac versions of MS Office. This is a HUGE market potential for them. I expect *better* performance from Linux with EXT4, or even ZFS, than comparable Windows Server with NTFS.

if having an A/D controller running on Linux was THAT important, there would be an application available that does it, licensed to use Microsoft's protocol. But I expect it's NOT worth it, regardless of what the sales-droids are telling you.

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Re: Perfectly understandable

"I suspect the problem is that English sarcasm, whilst clear and incisive when spoken, looses the mocking spoken tone when written down. The icon used was a reasonable approximation but like sarcasm can easily be misinterpreted."

That wasn't a particularly good example of sarcasm. As you point out, the written word can make it a tricky medium to shine in but the more advanced practitioner will make allowances and leave suitable hints. By hints, I do not mean something as crass as an emoticon. Unless you want to write an essay to provide context for your pearl of irony and bore your audience to death, then I suggest a quick shot of self-deprecation or a slightly rude comment at an easy target - that's a clue that will work pretty much everywhere outside of Texas.

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Re: Perfectly understandable

Well as it used to be called Sybase ( version 7 II think but it is a long time ago) and it used to run happily on all manner of operating systems except Windows until MS got their mitts on it, the Unix / Linux code is probably hidden down the back of the sofa somewhere....

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Re: Perfectly understandable

> what 'enterprise-scale features' are you referring to?

One example would be Volume Shadow Copy Service (https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc757854(v=ws.10).aspx)

Database systems on Windows (like Oracle and SQL Server) are declare themselves as VSS writers. Simarly, backup software (both the built-in as well as 3rd party) declare themselves as VSS requesters.

What this means is that the backup software will notify the VSS service when a system is backed up. The VSS service coordinates safe backup points with the VSS writers. Upon request from the VSS service, the VSS writers will flush in-memory structures to disk, ensuring a restore-consistent image.

Without something like the VSS service, restoring a snapshot of a system will appear to the database system as a power failure. A good RDBMS will overcome this by rolling transaction logs forward - but at the expense of a longer restore process.

With VSS the database system will see the image as consistent - as if the RDBMS had been shut down during the backup - and will *not* require expensive replays of transaction logs.

This is an *enterprise* feature: To be able to do a consistent system backup on a running system.

VSS even integrates with Hyper-V, meaning that if you start a backup process on the *host* - which owns the disks being backed up - the host will signal the VSS protocol through the hypervisor ensuring that any VSS writer within a virtual machine guest are coordinated with the host system backup.

Consider a virtual machine setup with Linux guests. You backup the host with all of the disks. How do you ensure that the guests are backed up at a consistent point-in-time? How do you ensure that processes/daemons running in the VM guests flush their memory to disk just when the disks are backed up?

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JLV
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Re: Perfectly understandable

>He (J J) was joking...I think?

I don't think so. J J is frequently funny, less often intentionally so.

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Childcatcher

Re: Perfectly understandable

"Consider a virtual machine setup with Linux guests. You backup the host with all of the disks. How do you ensure that the guests are backed up at a consistent point-in-time? How do you ensure that processes/daemons running in the VM guests flush their memory to disk just when the disks are backed up?"

Well, this is actually pretty straightforward nowadays...

It's this "new" technology called taking a snapshot of the VM, and backing up the snapshot through the hypervisor's storage APIs - all disk and memory I/O are in a consistent state and if the Backup software has any worth, it will issue a quiescent command to the VM's DB application before taking the snapshot.

It doesn't make much sense to back up a hosts' drives, one would backup the VMs. This way they can be scheduled as needed.

I manage a system with 30 linux VMs (CentOS, Redhat, Ubuntu) along with multiple Windows VMs and everything works just fine thank you...

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Re: Perfectly understandable (not)

I wonder how other DB systems like DB/2, Oracle and MySQL have done it so far on Linux without it... maybe shitty SQL Server is so inter-linked to the underlying OS that it actually needs that feature to work properly?

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Re: Perfectly understandable

> It's this "new" technology called taking a snapshot of the VM, and backing up the snapshot through the hypervisor's storage APIs

So, how will an Oracle RDBMS instance inside a VM ensure that it had flushed all "dirty" pages to disk when the snapshot occurs? If it did not ensure the disk state was consistent at the time of the snapshot, it *will* look as a power failure if you ever restore the disk.

You could of course just bring the VM back directly in running state. That will mess up every single one of it's network connections, however. I sure hope this is not your server backup strategy.

> and if the Backup software has any worth, it will issue a quiescent command to the VM's DB application before taking the snapshot.

So, how does your backup software, running at the VM host reach into the VM guests, discover the DB applications *and any other running application which may need to flush state* to issue a quisce command?

What if the backup software could ask the operating system for a list of "quisce" targets, and issue a quisce command upon backup automatically? What if the hypervisor was a quisce target which - recursively - discovered quisce targets within the VM guest and issued quisce commands to those as well?

That would be cool, wouldn't it? That is actually what Windows VSS is. Read here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quiesce

That is an *enterprise* feature. By offering it as an operating system service, backup software does *not* need to know about all of the types of DB systems and other services which would need "quisce" upon backup. Services do not need to know about backup software.

>It doesn't make much sense to back up a hosts' drives

Oh? Seems to me that backing up the host system (including all drives) by snapshotting and then dump the snapshot to external backup storage makes a lot of sense, especially if the backup software is not just disk oriented, but *application* oriented, i.e. if I could backup the host VM, but upon restore just ask to restore a single VM, and have just the host files back that represent the virtual disks and memory of the VM. Which is what Windows VSS does.

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Re: Perfectly understandable (not)

> I wonder how other DB systems like DB/2, Oracle and MySQL have done it so far on Linux without it

In the absence of an operating system feature, they rely on their customers to hire sysadmins who will code bash scripts that will shut down DB servers (or "quisce" them) during the backup operation, reach into VMs using ssh and perform similar functions, all to be maintained by the sysadmin with high job security.

Or the customers will just take the risk and assume that the restore will work and hope that the roll-forward will not take too long.

> SQL Server is so inter-linked to the underlying OS that it actually needs that feature to work properly?

No, you can also just copy SQL Servers database and transaction log files, and it will be restorable, just like Postgres, Oracle etc. However, just like those systems, it will see a restore from such an unsynchronized state as the equivalent to a power failure and start rolling the transaction logs forward from the last checkpoint.

Oracle on Windows also registers itself as a VSS writer - i.e. it will take part in the VSS protocol when a system snapshot or backup occurs. The rest of Windows has a lot of other VSS writers, e.g. DNS, DHCP etc, ensuring that information is syncronized across the board.

But hey - you can get by without. It just involves some more work and a little higher risk.

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Re: Perfectly understandable

"He (J J) was joking...I think?"

No, just visiting from whatever planet it is that he spends most of his time on.

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Re: Perfectly understandable (not)

'In the absence of an operating system feature, they rely on their customers to hire sysadmins who will code bash scripts that will shut down DB servers (or "quisce" them) during the backup operation, reach into VMs using ssh and perform similar functions, all to be maintained by the sysadmin with high job security.'

I assume you mean quiesce. Old Informix user here. It's an awfully long time since your contention was true. Archiving keeps track of data updates as they happen on the live database. At the end of the archive there's a checkpoint and on restore the database is correct up to that checkpoint. The only transactions to be rolled forwards are those from the end of the last archive.

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Childcatcher

Re: Perfectly understandable

> It's this "new" technology called taking a snapshot of the VM, and backing up the snapshot through the hypervisor's storage APIs

>>So, how will an Oracle RDBMS instance inside a VM ensure that it had flushed all "dirty" pages to disk when the snapshot occurs? If it did not ensure the disk state was consistent at the time of the snapshot, it *will* look as a power failure if you ever restore the disk.

**Did you not read the part about the backup software issueing the quiescience?

>>You could of course just bring the VM back directly in running state. That will mess up every single one of it's network connections, however. I sure hope this is not your server backup strategy.

**I think you're confusing backups with fault-tolerance. Performing a restoration of a backup would not have live connections... For this, there is a better way - fault tolerance for both vStorage (for disk/SAN failures) and vMotion (for server/hardware failures) - Assuming that MS' Hypervisor even has such a concept, I know VMWare does.

> and if the Backup software has any worth, it will issue a quiescent command to the VM's DB application before taking the snapshot.

>>So, how does your backup software, running at the VM host reach into the VM guests, discover the DB applications *and any other running application which may need to flush state* to issue a quisce command?

>>What if the backup software could ask the operating system for a list of "quisce" targets, and issue a quisce command upon backup automatically? What if the hypervisor was a quisce target which - recursively - discovered quisce targets within the VM guest and issued quisce commands to those as well?

>>That would be cool, wouldn't it? That is actually what Windows VSS is. Read here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quiesce

>>That is an *enterprise* feature. By offering it as an operating system service, backup software does *not* need to know about all of the types of DB systems and other services which would need "quisce" upon backup. Services do not need to know about backup software.

>It doesn't make much sense to back up a hosts' drives

>>Oh? Seems to me that backing up the host system (including all drives) by snapshotting and then dump the snapshot to external backup storage makes a lot of sense, especially if the backup software is not just disk oriented, but *application* oriented, i.e. if I could backup the host VM, but upon restore just ask to restore a single VM, and have just the host files back that represent the virtual disks and memory of the VM. Which is what Windows VSS does.

**IMHO this is what MS needs one to do, because they don't have a good answer (other than some type of clustering with custom software) otherwise.

**In this case, I still wouldn't be snapshotting the Host drives, I would be snapshotting the datastores on the SAN itself. Assuming of course that the specific SAN has the capability and one is using a SAN to begin with.

**You probably have a lot more experience with Oracle that I do. I only have enough experience with Oracle to know that it sucks when I have to work with it. If a company can afford Oracle, then they can afford to pay someone to deal with the headaches..

**Given Oracle's latest BS with licensing across all CPUs in a cluster (even if they are only running on a portion of them), virtualized or not, I'm surprised that they're winning any new business at all.

**That's okay, eventually the Market will determine their fate..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Perfectly understandable (not)

Mysql is a toy. Postgresql, oracle and SQL server are good rdbms options.

Having had to mop up the mess caused by mysql on more than one occasion let me plead; please use pretty much any other dB for your project, even mongo. I've never encountered a more stupid query analyser than mysql's.

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Linux

Re: Perfectly understandable

JJ - how wrong can you be?

All the biggest commercial websites on the planet - and the companies or organisations behind them - use nothing but Linux. If it's good enough for Governments, Amazon, Google, IBM and every other major corporation you can name, your protestations are simply silly.

The big data things that I do using Linux servers and Linux clients just aren't possible with Microsoft products - and everything I have to do HAS to be scalable. MS are several years behind the curve, and drop further behind with every piece of shiny nonsense they release. They simply haven't got a clue.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Perfectly understandable

You look to not know what enterprise-scale software means. It's not the number of core supported (and you may be surprised by the number of cores Windows actually support).

Nor the Linux server in your bedroom, nor the many server clones offering a web server for $9.99 are enterprise-scale software.

It's being able to orchestrate and control many thousands of users and the many different applications and tasks they need to perform.

Even Unix, stubbornly still rooted in the mainframe mindset of the '70s, never understood the needs of actual much broader LANs. And you see it from the many sysadmin who actually have no clue how to design a network for the XXI century, and stick to designs forty years too old. The fear of learning and updating their skills is what is keeping IT in those designs.

Unluckily, the low price of Linux made too many believe it is a good OS. It's just a clone of a bad OS forty years too old.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Perfectly understandable

Active Directory put together a log of technologies to serve the needs of properly managing a complex LAN setup. It's not just a directory service, it's not just an authentication/authorization service and so on. It's a comprehensive solution putting it all together. Especially, it's baked into any client and server OS.

Sure, in Linux you have LDAP, you have Kerberos, you can have policies some other way, all in a fragmented and very difficult way to put it all together and make it work without issues. That's why even when Linux is used, there are Windows domain controllers, because very few so called "Linux sysadmin" have the skills and the guts to deliver a comprehensive solution putting together all those pieces themselves.

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Vic

Re: Perfectly understandable

How do you ensure that the guests are backed up at a consistent point-in-time?

I'd do it with LVM snapshots. But others will have their own pet methods.

Vic.

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Re: Perfectly understandable

It is either unfortunate that commenter JJ Carter is very ignorant about the technical capabilities of Linux versus Microsoft Windows, or he/she is deliberately being a provocateur and shill for Microsoft.

Most sane persons with even a rudimentary knowledge of these Operating Systems (OS) are aware that Linux runs all USA and International Stock Exchanges, replacing the few than were as disaster running on Microsoft Windows. as one example. Approximately 98% of all the registered "fastest" Super computers on earth run overwhelmingly Linux, and some variant of UNIX/BSD as another very poignant example.

Perhaps the most telling cases for superiority of performance , reliability and security of Linux over Microsoft Windows are found in reasoning used by NASA for their Mars Unity Mission, most all Big Data Analytics projecs for analysing and processing exabytes of data, and most every International bank and financial services firms for handling billions of transaction per day.

Sad that so many doofus Microsoft supporters waste precious comment time of The Register and other technology forums.

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Re: Perfectly understandable

"if having an A/D controller running on Linux was THAT important"

Samba 4 does that (and a lot more), including built-in LDAP, Kerberos and DNS.

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Re: Perfectly understandable

"Linux supports a lot more CPU cores than Windows"

Windows Server supports all shipping Intel based hardware - as far as I am aware the largest Intel CPU based box you can currently buy has 32 physical CPUs. The actual Windows Server 2012 limit is 640 logical CPUs - which is an arbitrary choice based on hardware limits rather than any inherent scalability limit.

"the idea that Windows has better scalability is ludicrous"

Why is that ludicrous? A different OS kernel design means you likely do have different performance strengths. There are benchmark examples where Windows Server (and the Hyper-V hypervisor) perform better than Linux in specific workloads. It's not all about the maximum CPU core limit that you choose to enable.

"They just decided that releasing the main SQL Server that most people use earlier was preferred "

I think this is planned as a loss leader. They will let developers play on a limited version for free on Linux that some may prefer, but when you want to run it in production and need the fully featured version with say clustering you will likely need the Windows Server version...

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Re: Perfectly understandable

"what 'enterprise-scale features' are you referring to?"

How about constrained delegation:The ability to give an account only the minimum rights required for a specific task. Not a bodge like SUDO that MUST have root access (UID0) to work.

Or how about granular auditing and ACLs: the ability to control the changing of a single setting in a config. Not a per file only bodge....

I could go on as there are lots more, but you get the idea...

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Re: Perfectly understandable (not)

"I wonder how other DB systems like DB/2, Oracle and MySQL have done it so far on Linux without it..."

They often have to do it themselves. Oracle has it's own complete file system to be able to do this

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Vic

Re: Perfectly understandable

How about constrained delegation:The ability to give an account only the minimum rights required for a specific task.

You do know that idea came from Unix in the first place, right?

Not a bodge like SUDO that MUST have root access (UID0) to work.

Even the most cursory reading of the man page would show you that's total cobblers.

I could go on

I wish you wouldn't; your lists of supposed advantages are invariably full of schoolboy errors and incredible misunderstandings.

Vic.

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Re: Perfectly understandable

"You do know that idea came from Unix in the first place, right?"

But not from Linux, which has a big capability gap here.

"Even the most cursory reading of the man page would show you that's total cobblers."

Even the slightest technical knowledge about SUDO would tell you that's EXACTLY how it works so you clearly don't understand the subject matter - /usr/bin/sudo must be owned by uid 0 - the next time you run SUDO, type echo $UID

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Vic

Re: Perfectly understandable

But not from Linux, which has a big capability gap here.

Bullshit. Linux has the same capabilities, as well as a few more. You do not know what you are talking about.

Even the slightest technical knowledge about SUDO would tell you that's EXACTLY how it works so you clearly don't understand the subject matter - /usr/bin/sudo must be owned by uid 0 - the next time you run SUDO, type echo $UID

[vic@perridge ~]$ sudo echo $UID

[sudo] password for vic:

1000

Oh look - it's not 0.

[vic@perridge ~]$ sudo -u jetty -s

bash-4.2$ echo $UID

991

Still not 0.

The sudo binary must be owned by root to have its capabilities - but that does *NOT* mean that anyone that uses sudo gets root capabilities, nor that they become root explicitly[1]. You do not know what you are talking about.

I don't know whether you're paid for this crap, or whether you get some sort of kick out of it, but your knowledge is so substantially wrong, you're really not doing anyone any favours here. Read the man page - you might learn something[1].

Vic.

[1] Becoming root *may* be permitted, according to how the sudoers file is set up. But it is one of many ways to run sudo. You might want to find out some of the others, as they competely destroy your assertion.

[2] This does, of course, presuppose an open mind. So maybe you won't.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Perfectly understandable

"the next time you run SUDO, type echo $UID"

Suggest you understand what 'set UID' means/is used for.

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Re: Perfectly understandable

"the next time you run SUDO, type echo $UID"

As per Vic sudo echo $UID is 1000 here also ( as it should be )

echo $UID = 1000

sudo echo $UID =1000

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Re: Perfectly understandable

More interestingly try

sudo printenv

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"Microsoft's decision to bring SQL Server 2016 to Linux caused great excitement in the open-source world this week."

Where was this then? Was I asleep?

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Anonymous Coward

@linicks - Actually you were awake

but that "open-source world" was just a bunch of so called analysts who have no clue about open-source.

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Linux

"Microsoft's decision to bring SQL Server 2016 to Linux caused great excitement in the open-source world this week.". I find the sentence a bit odd too, but then again I suppose it depends on how one defines "excitement".

There is a lot we don't know about their motives for SQL Server on Linux. How much are they going to charge for it. Suppose there are customers who want to switch to Linux but are prepared to pay for keeping the Databases. Perhaps they want to reach the supercomputers in a more efficient way. Perhaps to challenge Oracle customers on Linux.

Wait and see, trying to find some excitement lurking in myself, have to try harder I suppose.

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gv

Re: @linicks - Actually you were awake

I think it was more of a "meh". Not sure why anyone would want to use SQL Server when there are a plethora of open source GPL'd database engines available.

It would only have caused "excitement" if Microsoft said they were going to licence it under GPL version 3.

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Excitement?

"Microsoft's decision to bring SQL Server 2016 to Linux caused great excitement in the open-source world this week."

I found this announcement quite, but not totally, surprising, and rather more interesting, because of some of the possible implications for the future, but exciting? No, not even mildly.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: linicks

How about "caused a bit of a stir" instead?

C.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: linicks

"Was greeted with brief skeptical stares"...?

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JLV
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Don't forget cloud stuff as motivation. A lot of the sexy/hype-y AWS, Docker, devops & all activities tend to mostly be carried out on CentOs, Ubuntu, etc... Not Windows. So if you want your rdbms engine to be considered in that space...

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Re: linicks

"How about "caused a bit of a stir" instead?"

I'd probably go with "interest" and remove "great", possibly replace "great" with "a bit of" ;-)

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Re: linicks

"Raised a few eyebrows" would've been about right.

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Re: Excitement?

It might have been the type of excitement you feel when you point at a classmate and go 'he's got cooties'.

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It takes a long time to convert all the VBA code to LISP.

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Re: converting VBA code

"It takes a long time to convert all the VBA code to LISP."

(title added by me)

I think it might be FASTER to actually IMPLEMENT VBA for Linux [then they can release this as part of their mono/'.Not Core' thing]

Microsoft needs to evolve or they'll die. windows 10, and also 8.x, is proof of that. They ported stuff to OSX, even made a runtime system you could run windows applications with (on OSX) a decade or so ago.

so yeah. they're trying to branch out, see what works. I'll sit back and watch for a while...

popcorn, get your popcorn!

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