TDS — Tabular Data Stream — is the protocol that SQL Server talks with its clients. This is a proprietary protocol, owned by Microsoft (and Sybase, who have their version). Nevertheless there is exists FreeTDS which originally was a reverse-engineering effort of TDS. Now when Microsoft has published the TDS specification, they should be able to repair any cracks they may have. Check out the FreeTDS home page for further details. There appears to be a DBD::FreeTDS that goes along with it.
I used FreeTDS to connect to SQL Server from RStudio, so I endorse that method.