Remember when Steve Ballmer likened Linux to cancer, and the notion of Microsoft courting the open source crowd was virtually unimaginable? The company has come a long, long way since then. Microsoft has unveiled a version of SQL Server, a flagship database program, for Linux. That's right -- you can get a major Microsoft data center app without having to touch Windows. The company is even working with the creators of key Linux distributions (such as Red Hat and Ubuntu maker Canonical) to get the program running smoothly. SQL Server for Linux won't officially ship until mid-2017, but there's already a preview for corporations that want a peek.