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 GitHub. 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 projects".