Microsoft Linux Foundation Donation
A customer examines the WeTab tablet computer in an electronics supermarket in Berlin, Oct. 1, 2010. REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski

Microsoft announced that it has become the platinum member of the Linux Foundation — it will donate $500,000 annually toward advancement and development of open source projects. The announcement, made at the Connect conference in New York on Wednesday, will bring the former rivals closer.

This is a far cry from Microsoft's previous stand on Linux. The company's former CEO had, in 2001, called Linux a “cancer.”

Still, this is not the first time that Microsoft has collaborated with Linux. The company was one of the sponsors of Linuxcon 2016 and supported Linux-based projects such as Node.js, OpenDaylight, the Open Container Initiative, the R Consortium and the Open API Initiative.

In March, Microsoft revealed that it was bringing its flagship SQL server to Linux. Until now, access to the server was access-only, but as of Nov. 16, the public preview of the next version of SQL is available on both Windows and Linux.

The Linux version will include standard SQL features, which accompany the Windows version such as always encrypted, row-level security and memory columnstores. Microsoft corporate Vice President Julia Liuson told Techcrunch that users will soon be able to run SQL Server on Linux and in Linux-based docker containers. This will, in turn, give them more choices in deploying databases.

In addition to the SQL Server for Linux, Microsoft has announced preview Linux support for its Azure app service.

The first service pack for the SQL Server 2016 for Windows has also been announced at the event, with access to developer features that were previously restricted to the enterprise edition.