Kernel 5.2-rc1 Is Out, Xfce 4.14 Pre-Release Now Available, Microsoft Open-Sources Its SPTAG Algorithm, South Korean Government Switching to Linux and Arduino Launches Four New Nano Boards

News briefs for May 20, 2019.

Linux kernel 5.2-rc1 is out. Linus
Torvalds writes
: “Things look fairly
normal. Just about two thirds of the patch is
drivers (all over), with the bulk of the rest being arch updates,
tooling, documentation and vfs/filesystem updates, of which there were
more than usual (the unicode tables for ext4 case insensitivity do end
up being a big part of the “bulk” side).
But there’s core networking, kernel and vm changes too – it’s just
that the other areas tend to simply be much bulkier.”

The the first pre-release of Xfce 4.14 is now available. Simon
Steinbeiß’s blog post
covers only the changes in the latest
development release, as the Xfce 4.12 was four years ago. Highlights include
FailSafeSession has been fixed, improvements to vertical blanking support, a
new colord front end was added, and much more.

Microsoft recently released its SPTAG algorithm as MIT-licensed open source on
. Ars
Technica reports
that this algorithm is part of what gives Bing its
smarts, noting that “Developers can use this algorithm to search their own sets of
vectors and do so quickly: a single machine can handle 250 million vectors
and answer 1,000 queries per second.” This release is part of the company’s
effort to “Democratize AI”.

The South Korean government plans to switch to Linux as the end of Windows 7 support nears.
According to ZDNet,
“the nation’s Interior Ministry last week announced plans for a potentially
major Linux deployment as part of a plan to cut tech costs and reduce its
reliance on a single operating system.
It’s not known what mix of Windows 7 and Windows 10 the Korean government
currently uses, however the plan to adopt Linux more widely comes as
organizations around the world prepare for the end of Windows 7 support on
January 14, 2020.”

The Arduino
team announced the launch of four new Nano boards
: Arduino Nano Every,
“perfect for everyday projects”; Arduino Nano 33 IoT, “small, secure, and
Internet-connected”; Arduino Nano 33 BLE, “small, low-power, and
Bluetooth-connected”; and Arduino Nano BLE Sense, “small, low-power, and
Bluetooth-connected with a wide range of on-board sensors”. The boards start
at just $9.90 for the Nano Every. Arduino co-founder Massimo Banzi commented that the new Nanos “are for those millions of makers who love
using the Arduino IDE for its simplicity and open source aspect, but just
want a great value, small and powerful board they can trust for their compact

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