This chapter details some advanced configurations that need expanded explanation.
Several version of Microsoft SQL server have a bug that affects big endian clients. This includes 7.0 GA and 7.0 SP1. Furthermore, TDS Protocol version 7.0 is natively little endian. Microsoft SQL Server 2000 is also reported not to work from big endian clients without little endian emulation turned on.
The terms big endian and little endian come originally from Gulliver's Travels. In computer science they refer to the the integer byte-order for a processor. Big endian processors, such as Sparc and PowerPC store the most significant byte in the first memory location of a multi-byte integer. Little endian processors, such as Intel and Alpha do it the other way around. So the 16-bit number 258 would be 0x0102 on big endian and 0x0201 on little endian machines.
In this example we want to force connections to a server named mssql to emulate a little endian client. We are using protocol version 4.2 here, version 7.0 or above will automatically emulate little endian mode regardless of the freetds.conf setting. You shouldn't use this option, set another protocol version instead (7.0, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 or 7.4).