An anonymous reader writes "In late May, Data.gov will launch, in what US CIO Vivek Kundra calls an attempt to ensure that all government data 'that is not restricted for national security reasons can be made public' through data feeds. This appears to be a tremendous expansion on (and an official form of) third-party products like the Sunlight Labs API. Of course, it is still a far cry from 'open sourcing' the actual decision-making processes of government. Wired has launched a wiki for calling attention to datasets that should be shared as part of the Data.gov plan, and an article on O'Reilly discusses the importance of making this information easily accessible."
diegocgteleline.es writes "Linus Torvalds has released Linux 2.6.29. The new features include the inclusion of kernel graphic modesetting, WiMAX, access point Wi-Fi support, inclusion of squashfs and a preliminary version of btrfs, a more scalable version of RCU, eCryptfs filename encryption, ext4 no journal mode, OCFS2 metadata checksums, improvements to the memory controller, support for filesystem freeze, and other features. Here is the full list of changes."
eldavojohn writes "RealNetworks' product that allows one to copy a DVD containing a movie has been pulled. You may recall us discussing RealDVD and its legal implications." According to the linked BBC report, "RealNetworks — the firm behind the software — has responded to restraining order issued by a US court stopped selling the RealDVD software [sic]. Six major movie studios jointly sued the company on 30 September — the day the software was launched."
thesandbender writes "Ford is set to release a management system that will restrict certain aspects of a car's performance based on which key is in the ignition. The speed is limited to 80, you can't turn off traction control, and you can't turn the stereo up to eleven. It's targeted at parents of teenagers and seems like a generally good idea, especially if you get a break on your insurance." The keys will be introduced with the 2010 Focus coupe and will quickly spread to Ford's entire lineup.
davidmwilliams writes "Microsoft followed their major annual Tech-Ed event in Australia with a week-long programming contest called 'DevSta,' to find 'star developers.' While the quantity and quality of submissions suggest a poor turnout, it certainly caught the attention of at least two hackers who left their mark. Here is the low-down on the contest, what happened, by whom, and screen shots for posterity in case it's been fixed by the time you read this. And unless the volume of submissions increase dramatically within the next few hours, someone may be awarded an Xbox for doing nothing more than rewriting the Windows calculator as a .NET app."
eldavojohn writes "The funny thing about the RIAA & BPI is that the artists are just as tired as the fans with how online music is being handled. So they're trying something new called the Featured Artists' Coalition. FAC's site states in their charter: 'We believe that all music artistes should control their destiny because ultimately it is their art and endeavors that create the pleasure and emotion enjoyed by so many.' As digital releases are increasing, the artists aren't seeing any more money. With the advent of online distribution, are the traditional music industry functions of promotion, samples, radio, and marketing now nothing but costly overhead for the artists? From Iron Maiden to Kate Nash to Radiohead, some big names are backing this new organization."
scionite0 sends us to Rolling Stone for an in-depth article on Wal-Mart and the music business. Wal-Mart is the largest music retailer selling "an estimated one out of every five major-label albums" in the US. Wal-Mart willingly loses money selling CDs for less than $10 in order to draw customers into the store, but they are tired of taking a loss on CDs. The mega-retailer is telling the major record labels to lower the price of CDs or risk losing retail space to DVDs and video games. (Scroll to the bottom of the article for a breakdown of where exactly the money goes on a $15.99 album sale.) "[A Wal-Mart spokesman said:] 'The record industry needs to refine their business models, because the consumer is the ultimate arbitrator. And the consumer feels music isn't properly priced.' [While music executives are quoted:] 'While Wal-Mart represents nearly twenty percent of major-label music sales, music represents only about two percent of Wal-Mart's total sales. If they got out of selling music, it would mean nothing to them. This keeps me awake at night.' [And another:] 'Wal-Mart has no long-term care for an individual artist or marketing plan, unlike the specialty stores, which were a real business partner. At Wal-Mart, we're a commodity and have to fight for shelf space like Colgate fights for shelf space.'"
Ripit writes "Just yesterday the Justice Department approved the merger of Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Radio, a Sirius takeover to the tune of $5 billion. The transaction was approved without conditions, despite opposition from consumer groups and an intense lobbying campaign by the land-based radio industry. 'In explaining the decision, Justice officials said the options beyond satellite radio -- digital recordings, high-definition radio, Web radio -- mean that XM and Sirius could merge without diminishing competition. "There are other alternatives out there," Assistant Attorney General Thomas O. Barnett said in a conference call. "We just simply found that the evidence didn't indicate that it would harm consumers."'"