Microsoft has launched the Windows 10 IoT Core Insider developer preview programme, bringing the operating system and its software to a community that includes users of the Raspberry Pi and Intel Minnowboard Max.
The free download is available now, although it requires having a Windows 10 preview installed. Microsoft said that it is pitched at hobbyists and commercial device builders, and offers a low-cost approach.
"With this Insider Preview release of Windows 10 IoT Core we're bringing the power of Windows to Raspberry Pi 2 for the first time," said Steve Teixeira, director of programme management for the IoT at Microsoft.
"We're embracing the simple principle of helping makers and device builders do more by bringing our world-class development tools, the power of the Universal Windows Platform, direct access to hardware capabilities, and the ability to remotely debug, update and manage the software running on Raspberry Pi 2 devices."
Liz Upton, head of communications at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, said in a Windows 10 for IoT blog post that she expected the community to embrace the opportunity.
"This is pre-release software, so it comes with all the usual stability warnings, and you will have to have a copy of Windows 10 on your PC," she wrote. "We'll be watching to see what the community does with Windows 10 for IoT on the Pi with great interest."
Teixeira admitted that bugs might persist but that Microsoft felt it important to get the tools into community hands as early as possible. Anyone who wants a more consistent experience can wait until the summer.
"Our goal is to give makers the opportunity to play with the software bits early and to listen to the feedback on what's working well and what we can do better. You may notice some missing drivers or rough edges. We look forward to receiving your feedback to help us prioritise development work," he added.
"We'll be incorporating the feedback we receive into regular software updates along with additional drivers, bug fixes and new features. Those looking for a commercial-quality release should wait for general availability this summer."
A video released by Microsoft shows how Windows 10 and the Pi could combine to create robotics and blend virtual reality headgear HoloLens with the IoT.
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