When the Raspberry Pi 2 was launched, there was much hoo-hah about it being able to run Windows 10, and that it would be free. After much speculation, discussion, deliberation and outright mis-information, we eventually found out that the Pi wouldn’t be running the full desktop version but instead it would run some kind of embedded version suitable for developers, rather than home users who “just want Windows”.
Following the first day of Microsoft’s Build 2015 conference, it was announced that the preview version of “Windows 10 IoT” is now available to download and install on your Raspberry Pi. In order to install it, you will need a PC running the Windows 10 IoT preview version and virtual machines are not supported (according to this article over on CNX). You can get started installing the new operating system by visiting the Getting Started guide. Below is a video of one person’s experience booting it up for the first time. It’s not what you’d call speedy, but then this is a preview version and I’d hope that speed would improve as new versions emerge.
It’s an exciting development, particularly for those who want to explore development on the Windows platform, but I can’t help feel that there are significant barriers to entry that won’t help in these initial stages. Needing a PC running the same environment seems to be a bit of a backwards step from the “download-it-install-it-and-go” approach of Raspbian, and not supporting virtual machines is a definite disadvantage – how many of us have a machine lying about onto which we can install an unstable preview version of a peculiar edition of Windows?
I think most people should wait a little while. Preview versions are notoriously difficult to deal with – for preview, read “Beta” or even “Alpha” – and I would expect the software to need a few months of improvements before it is truly usable.
I don’t want to leave this article on a downbeat note, however, so if you’ve got the time and the equipment, I urge you to give it a go and feedback to the community how easy it was to install and use and get that initial blink sketch going! (I reckon there’s a bug in that code – LED_PIN is never defined – so be patient with it!)