The new $35 Raspberry Pi 2 mini-computer isn’t just faster than the original model that launched 3 years ago. It’s also more versatile: in addition to supporting Raspbian and other Linux-based operating systems, the single-board computer will also be able to run a version of Windows 10.

raspberry pi 2_07

Later this year Microsoft will offer Windows 10 for free through the Windows Developer Program for IoT.

Don’t expect this version of Windows to have all the features you’d get if you bought a desktop or notebook PC with an Intel or AMD processor. The Raspberry Pi 2 has a quad-core, ARM Cortex-A7 processor that’s more like the type of chip you’d find in a phone or tablet than one you’d normally see in a desktop computer.

That means you probably won’t be able to run desktop-style apps. But Microsoft doesn’t expect you to use Windows 10 to turn the Raspberry Pi into a full-fledged desktop computer. Instead, it’s offering the software to Makers and developers interested in building “Internet of Things” projects around the tiny, low-power single-board computer.

Up until now developers interested in using a Raspberry Pi were limited to using Linux, while folks who wanted to develop using Microsoft’s platform would have to use something like an Intel Galileo board.

Microsoft isn’t the only software company jumping on the Raspberry Pi 2 bandwagon.

Canonical has announced that Snappy Ubuntu Core is compatible with the new mini-computer. That’s a lightweight version of the popular Ubuntu Linux operating system designed for cloud-based applications and smart devices.

In other words, Microsoft and Ubuntu both see the Raspberry Pi 2 as an inexpensive device that developers, hackers, and other DIY types can use to build Internet-of-Things software ore hardware.

But when I spoke with Eben Upton about the new hardware he also suggested that unlike the original Raspberry Pi, the new model really is fast enough to use as a full-fledged computer for basic computing tasks. Just don’t expect to use it that way if you’re running Windows.

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31 replies on “Raspberry Pi 2 can run Windows 10, Ubuntu Core (and more)”

  1. Saying Windows 10 is going to be on it is a bit of a stretch. It’s a special version of Windows with no GUI at all that is aimed at giving Microsoft a foothold in the IoT market where Linux is king.
    As per usual the the rPi foundation make announcements giving the impression that their hardware is more than it is and lets people think they’re getting more for their money and fails to put out any corrections or qualifications. Shady, shady practices.

    1. It was just marketing, 90% of the people who buy the pi won’t be using windows 10 on it because it’s mainly useless

  2. W10 on 1GB? Yeah, good luck with that.
    And I guess, since this is primarily a platform for eduction you’ll want some kind of compiler.. so Visual Studio? Yeah, I can see that running really well on 1GB.

    1. You’re not going to be able to run visual studio on arm anyway. Also i don’t see why you’d want to, i don’t think the pi was ever aimed at that – there’s loads more to computers and education than using visual studio!

      1. Ok, I guess. I’m just still working on the original BBC Micro mindset (cf B, B+ nomenclature), so assumed a compiler. g++/clang works fine on ARM /w 1GB, just not sure about whether it’ll do it under W10.

        1. I think it’s more so meant for developers to test their windows mobile apps on arm chips without having to buy a windows phone.

        2. Keep in mind this is the mobile version of Windows 10… the version that will run on Smart Phones, Phablets, etc. Meaning, it’s specifically optimized to run well on more limited mobile hardware and shouldn’t be compared to the limitations of the desktop version…

          Windows Phone 8, for example, could run well with even 512MB of RAM… and that’s what the mobile Windows 10 is primarily replacing…

    2. Yeah. Plus I don’t see the point of it. What will Win10 bring to the pi that current Linux systems can’t do. It can’t run the desktop Windows apps and its going to be closed down. So what is the benefit over current distros? The distros can at least run useful apps.

        1. Ah, didn’t notice the 4 drives.

          If you want all four connected at the same time then I would recommend to either retask some old PC as a NAS, or buy a 4-bay NAS (can be expensive), or an HP Microserver (might be affordable, depending on where you are).

          With all of the messing around with PSUs, enclosures and cabling for a RPi and four USB drives, I’d be more confident in a dedicated NAS setup.

          Of course you’ll never achieve the low price of an RPi setup but you wouldn’t get any useful performance out of the RPi, or any kind of reliability. If you have four drives then I’m guessing you don’t want to lose your content.

          Personally I used to stick HP Microserver N54Ls everywhere – and while there was cashback in the UK on them they used to go as cheap as 75 GBP (112.5 USD) + RAM + HDDs. Best single devices I ever bought I think. FreeNAS, VMWare etc runs great on them.

          PS Although I don’t know if they’re any good it looks like NewEgg do a Buffallo and a Netgear 4-bay NAS for 220 USD. Ok, it’s not 35 USD, but it’s also not a dirty hack. They also hit reads of 70MBytes/sec in reviews.

          1. 🙂 Truth be told, I haven’t fully formulated the idea really.

            I liked the idea of a Pi because:
            ✔ it’s a minimal (small and cheap) unit that could be run as a dedicated personal cloud
            ✔ at 5V I was thinking it could be solar powered (with a battery UPS)
            ✔ with no fan, it’d run silently – another plus, and
            ✔ I like the idea of being able to use Open Source software on it.

            Any suggestions?

            [The thinking behind multiple USBs was back-up]

          2. The new CompuLab fitlet-B would be a better choice of platform for a (low powered) NAS

          3. Hmm.. not really..

            Small and cheap? Four individual USB disk enclosures, plus PSUs and an irregular sized RPi case wouldn’t be that much smaller than a 4-bay off the shelf NAS.

            Solar powered? with four drives you’d need a PSU of at least 40W anyway for the four drives alone (the spin-up current can be quite high – for this reason big bad ass servers have the option to stagger disk spin up in BIOS) so solar power is unlikely.

            Silent? The loudest thing in the N54L is the PSU fan (it’s 40mm), but you can swap it for a pico-PSU and the big case fan at the back for a quieter model. There’s an article on silentpcreview dot com about this IIRC.

            OSS software? Ok, that’s the easy bit. FreeNAS, OpenMediaVault, Openfiler, NAS4free, Owncloud etc.. etc.. … etc..
            The off-the-shelf NAS makers usually release their source too, and for some models there is third party “hacked” firmware too.

            I’ve seen a couple of NAS setups based on the RPi around the web, but once you figure out what you actually want from it I suspect you’ll settle for more than just a hack.

            About four years ago I retasked a fanless Atom D510 (MB-D510-MATX + SATA card) for a home file server. The loudest thing by far were the six Samsung drives as they spun (and at the time they were the kings of quiet). It’s still running now. Just with less disks. Being phased out for FreeNAS on N54L+6*3TB, as that’s got ECC RAM and RAID-Z2.

            Sorry I couldn’t give you a definitive answer. Good luck.

          4. Just to add:
            RPi2 : 35 USD + PSU: ~10 USD + USB enclosures (4@~20 USD?)
            ASRock Q1900-ITX Intel Celeron J1900 (76 USD) + PicoPSU (65USD) +RAM +CASE

            BIOSTAR NM70I-847 (50 USD) + PicoPSU (65USD) +RAM +CASE

            The BIOSTAR has a fan unfortunately, but I’d go for the J1900 every time if I wanted to build a low cost low power server (and didn’t need ECC, which FreeNAS+ZFS does).

    1. The RPi (all models) is generally a bad idea for NAS, not just due to the lack of native SATA, but lack of native Ethernet – the Ethernet is actually hanging off the USB bus, so your USB disk would be potentially fighting with the Ethernet for USB bandwidth.
      The other problem with the RPi’s Ethernet is that it’s only 100Mbit/s – which with all kinds of network overhead would have a theoretical max throughput of 10Mbytes/s for, say, samba/CIFS, but probably much less. Samba is single threaded IIRC so a multi-core chip won’t help that much.

      There are a number of boards with native Ethernet and SATA, and they’re not that much more expensive than the RPis.

      1. Edit: Check out the single board micro ITX/ATX board. Like the “ASRock Q1900M Intel Quad-Core Celeron Processor J1900 Micro ATX Motherboard/CPU/VGA Combo”

        +1 looking for alternatives for “not much more.” I’d love to set up a decent NAS on a single board

  3. I’d heard that MS didn’t plan on offering Windows 10
    for ARM tablets running Windows RT, just bringing over
    some unstated parts of Win 10, pretty much abandoning
    the platform.

    That said, will it be possible to load this IoT version of Win 10
    on Win RT devices?

    1. It depends on whether you can get pass the device lock down and install/boot your own custom ROM or not… Otherwise, it would be like installing your own ROM on any mobile device… but MS mobile devices are usually pretty hard to jailbreak…

      But to be clear, the only reason RT isn’t getting the full Windows 10 update is because MS is no longer going to try to support even a limited desktop on the mobile version of Windows 10…

      This is why most Windows Phones are still getting the update and the mobile Windows 10 will specifically target phones, phablets, and small tablets that will usually be 7″ or smaller going forward…

      Leaving 8″ or larger devices to run the full desktop Windows 10…

      So ARM is still being supported, it’ll just a be fully Metro version of the OS from now on…

  4. with 1GB RAM? And here i was, thinking that my T100 with it’s 2GB was as bad as it gets.
    but hey! you get a system where most windows-software won’t run anyways, so not having ram might be no problem because you have nothing you’d run on that system.

    I’d prefer the linux or android-ecosystem where either there is all software for ARM per default (and some VM-bullshit so that wouldn’t even matter that much) or even better gives you access to the code, so you can compile/run it on any platform.

    1. Because you love being a nitpicky dick, I’m going to return you the favor.

      This is a $35 development board. It’s all-purpose. Not specifically meant as a consumer device. You just compared a $35 programmable board to a $250+ tablet. Also, it’s a raspberry pi, not a windows raspberry pi. Windows is just an option to install so you can develop windows arm apps and test without buying an actual $300+ windows phone. It even says Windows Developer Program for IoT… So your argument of lack of windows software is just … lame. Kids and students in classrooms around the world are building robots with this and here you are complaining about a lack of ram and lack of software you can install.

      1. *yawn*

        yeah.. right
        that makes a 512MB RAM device with windows on armhf instantly into a good idea. “because the device i compared it with was way more expensive” (even though still beeing the imho hard lower-limit before beeing unusable)

        1. Your sentence doesn’t make any sense at all never mind the fact you can’t spell being correctly. Your arguments show no justification on why you’re complaining about the lack of software when this isn’t a device used for software but for development. In fact, it just makes you sound more ignorant.

          I’m sorry you were stupid enough to spend $300 on a low-end tablet, that stupidity has nothing to do with why you expect to run fancy shmancy 2gb required software on a $35 development board meant for building things.

          1. you are too bad at trolling to make me continue writing arguments, while you only reply with stupid shit. you should really try to become better at that. 😉

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