If like me you have to begrudgingly talk to SQL Server on occasion, but you want to do so from Python on Ubuntu, you're in luck. As I'm finding is true with most things in the Python world there's a module to suit your needs.
Where SQL Server is concerned there are actually two modules available, pyodbc and pymssql, and I'm going to try both of these out to compare and contrast. In theory pymssql should be faster since it doesn't use ODBC, but pyodbc seemed as good a place as any to start.
Installation is simple enough in theory -- download the source zip and run:
python setup.py build install
On Ubuntu, however, you may run into an error or two due to missing libraries. Thankfully this is also quite easy to fix.
The specific error I ran into was:
cc1plus: warning: command line option ‘-Wstrict-prototypes’ is valid for Ada/C/ObjC but not for C++ [enabled by default]
The fix is to install the unixodbc libraries as well as the python-dev libraries:
sudo apt-get install unixodbc-dev unixodbc-bin unixodbc python-dev python2.7-dev
With those installed the build and install for pyodbc works.
Next up is actually using pyodbc to talk to SQL Server, so expect a follow-up post relatively soon.