back to article Why Windows 10 on Raspberry Pi 2? Upton: 'I drank the Kool-Aid'

Today Microsoft and the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced that Windows 10 will run on the new Raspberry Pi 2. But why? The Register spoke to Pi founder and CEO Eben Upton. “We’ve had people queuing up and saying they want Windows, the whole time,” says Upton. “I think there’s a sense that 'you’re a real PC' if you run Windows …

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  1. Spiracle

    “In terms of whether we approached Microsoft, or Microsoft approached us, I don’t think it was either, I think it was a conversation in a bar,”

    Let's see, The Flying Pig on Hills Road is handy for MS Research and, given the story, appropriately named.

    1. Thecowking

      I think they drink in The Salisbury though, it's a lot closer for them and the food's better.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        both wrong....

        take it from me as someone posting from inside MS Research, they like their real ales. The Cambridge Blue it is.

        Me, I like the Pig :-)

        1. Roland6 Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: both wrong....

          >Me, I like the Pig :-)

          But which one? Hop Trotter, Captain Pigwash, Yeller Belly...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well at least this should make using a Pi a lot easier and more accessible. And if Windows 8.1 versus Ubuntu 14 is anything to go by, faster for most things too.

    3. Stretch

      Ha! Yeah they drink in there. Obviously. That's a place that will show up a lot on Grindr if you get my meaning.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Strangely these days, Kool Aid from M$ seems more tasty than Google's.

      Times they are a changin'

  2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    Excellent

    Well, I am going to say this agian (to be downvoted again by the fanboys):

    With this in mind, I am not surprised about the the announcement of core and memory increase to match the Windows 10 requirements which is _NOT_ a Linux requirement or a requirement for 99.9% of current Pi apps.

    Now let the downvotes commence.

    1. James Hughes 1

      Re: Excellent

      As someone who has actually spoken to Eben Upton about this, let me say again - this upgrade was NOT done at the behest of MS, nor was it done for MS.

      It was done because there is now serious multicore competition in SBC space, and because the new chip became available. Note that there has been no increase in price. If this upgrade could only be done by a price increase, it would not yet have happened, MS or no MS.

    2. jaywin

      Re: Excellent

      > I am not surprised about the the announcement of core and memory increase to match the Windows 10 requirements which is _NOT_ a Linux requirement or a requirement for 99.9% of current Pi apps.

      And what about the ∞% of apps which can't run on the existing Pi hardware, but could with a hardware upgrade? Just because the only use you can see is as a media centre or NAS, doesn't mean every possible use for the Pi is already out there and running happily.

      Only two weeks ago we wrote off using the RasPi for our digital signage software, because it couldn't run the animations smoothly enough. I suspect the new version will be more than adequate, so the order has gone in for one for testing.

    3. Lysenko

      Re: Excellent

      "With this in mind, I am not surprised about the the announcement of core and memory increase to match the Windows 10 requirements which is _NOT_ a Linux requirement or a requirement for 99.9% of current Pi apps."

      The devil is in the detail. Windows on embedded ARM is nothing new. The FreeScale MX28 SBC's we use can run Windows Embedded Compact 7 (essentially WinCE) so no surprise that *some* Win10 variant or other will run on a Pi.

      Most track side monitors on the rail system run Win7 on ARM, as do lots of security scanners in airports. If the Pi guys want to grow their industrial side (and they repeatedly make reference to such customers) then they need Windows on the Pi more than MSFT does.

      We use Linux incidentally. I just know a lot of the competition don't.

    4. P. Lee Silver badge

      Re: Excellent

      >I am not surprised about the the announcement of core and memory increase to match the Windows 10 requirements which is _NOT_ a Linux requirement

      Not an essential requirement but there is more than one distro which needs > 756MB RAM to install. Redhat (Fedora?) and Suse spring to mind, unless things have changed recently. I'm sure its possible to squeeze them in somehow, but why make it hard? Extra memory also improves the ability to buffer which can mean less stress on disk systems, which if memory serves are USB which put a strain on the CPU.

      1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        Re: Excellent

        > more than one distro which needs > 756MB RAM to install.

        That would be if one is using a graphical installer to install a distro that includes a (or several) GUI.

        OTOH other distros will install and run on RPi model A with 256Kb with a GUI (LXDE).

        I used to run FreeSCO Linux on a 386 with 20Mbyte RAM booting from a diskette (1.44MByte). It was a router/firewall that ran other services.

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: Excellent

          And I used to run Windows on a system with far less than that - so what?

    5. Flywheel Silver badge

      Re: Excellent

      Of course it's not a Linux requirement, but it'll be very nice to have. I haven't experienced memory usage problems on my Raspberries but I'm looking forward to having the mail server run in a more lively fashion.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Embrace. Extend. Extinguish.

    Keep reminding yourself of the above until sanity returns.

    "Their feeling is that they have the most secure operating system to build IoT applications." - Microsoft have been negligent regarding security for a long time. We've all been bitten in the past, it will take a longer time to trust them again.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Embrace. Extend. Extinguish.

      "Microsoft have been negligent regarding security for a long time. We've all been bitten in the past, it will take a longer time to trust them again"

      Well Windows has had fewer vulnerabilities every year that on average have been fixed faster than the most common enterprise Linux distributions for over a decade now...

      And the Microsoft application servers like IIS and SQL are way ahead of the competition in terms of number of vulnerabilities in the same time period too.

      1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Please link to your numbers

        Last time I saw Microsoft's numbers, Microsoft scored 52/year (patch Tuesday) and the Linux numbers included every package multiplied by the number of distributions. I admit that was a long time ago and things have changed - these days Microsoft do not update every Tuesday.

        1. Sandtitz Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Please link to your numbers @Flocke

          "Last time I saw Microsoft's numbers, Microsoft scored 52/year (patch Tuesday) and the Linux numbers included every package multiplied by the number of distributions. I admit that was a long time ago and things have changed - these days Microsoft do not update every Tuesday."

          "Better to Remain Silent and Be Thought a Fool than to Speak and Remove All Doubt"

          Patch Tuesday is so named because the patches are usually delivered on the second Tuesday of every month. That's about 12 "Patch Tuesdays" per year. Not 52.

          Since the Patch Tuesday was established in 2003, it may be better if you refrain commenting on things you apparently have little knowledge of.

          Linux kernel apparently had 133 publicly disclosed vulnerabilities in 2014.

          Windows 7 apparently had 37 vulnerabilities in 2014

          These are not "MS numbers", and don't include the different packages.

          Feel free to point the errors in this post.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Please link to your numbers @Flocke

            "These are not "MS numbers", and don't include the different packages.

            Feel free to point the errors in this post."

            The first error is that you're using CVE details for a purpose which the CVE people explicitly say they should not be used (unless things have changed since last time we went through these hoops on here).

            With a start like that, I don't see much else to address.

    2. Z80A

      Re: Embrace. Extend. Extinguish.

      Microsoft has form against little Linux machines - remember netbooks. After Microsoft embraced them, the skinny Linux models were driven out by fatter Windows 7 based ones. History will recur.

      1. Suricou Raven

        Re: Embrace. Extend. Extinguish.

        It's hard to even get a netbook these days - manufacturers realised that their razor-thin-margin netbook products were eating into the sales of their far more profitable ultrabook products.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Embrace. Extend. Extinguish.

          Many of them were taken back because they had Linux on them (remember, these were ordinary members of the public expecting Windows).

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Embrace. Extend. Extinguish.

            "Many of them were taken back because they had Linux on them (remember, these were ordinary members of the public expecting Windows)."

            And more importantly, they cost the vendors a lot more to support.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Embrace. Extend. Extinguish.

            "Many of them were taken back because they had Linux on them (remember, these were ordinary members of the public expecting Windows)."

            I expect these people (and a lot more) are now running Android or iPad tablets without worrying too much about Windows

            1. Tim Jenkins

              Re: Embrace. Extend. Extinguish.

              True, but they probably don't expect those devices to be able to digest a pirated Office 2003 CD or attach to their Argos-issue USB printer, which they did when they bought that temptingly priced netbook, took it home and found Lin-something-or-other on it...

        2. plrndl

          Re: Embrace. Extend. Extinguish.

          @ Suricou Raven

          Netbooks and ultra books are at opposite ends of the market, and do not compete.

          MS & Intel killed off netbooks to protect their fatter margins on fatter devices. Netbooks have been replaced by tablets, and the evil duo have lost out completely (PMSL).

          Ultrabooks are Mac Airs for people who want to run Windows.

          1. dajames Silver badge

            Netbooks (Was: Embrace. Extend. Extinguish)

            Netbooks and ultra books are at opposite ends of the market, and do not compete.

            That's what the marketing people keep telling us, but most people just see a notebook that is smaller and more portable than other notebooks. Those who can afford an ultrabook buy one, everyone else just bemoans the demise of the netbook (and probably buys a cheap tablet).

        3. Greg Fawcett

          Re: Embrace. Extend. Extinguish.

          My perception is that netbooks evolved into chromebooks. The manufacturers still have the issue with cannibalising laptop sales, but at least they don't have to pay for or support the OS.

      2. Anonymous Blowhard

        Re: Embrace. Extend. Extinguish.

        "Microsoft has form against little Linux machines - remember netbooks. After Microsoft embraced them, the skinny Linux models were driven out by fatter Windows 7 based ones. History will recur."

        The factors that worked against Linux based NetBooks are not applicable for Raspberry Pi; lets go through them:

        1) Users appeared to want Windows; many manufacturers and retailers had problems because people bought what they thought was a "Windows PC" and then complained when they found it wasn't.

        http://blog.laptopmag.com/ubuntu-confirms-linux-netbook-returns-higher-than-anticpated

        2) Manufacturers of NetBooks also sold Windows PC and may have been subject to commercial pressure from Microsoft. In the case of Windows on Raspberry Pi, there's no commercial relationship between Microsoft and Raspberry Pi Foundation; even if Microsoft were making a charitable donation to them, how could this be used to force out Linux?

        I still have my Asus Eee PC 901; bought with Windows (because it was cheaper) and currently running Mint 14, it's a great machine with Linux but my requirements and expectations aren't the same as the average PC buyer. I suspect that many people who wouldn't touch a non-Windows NetBook won't buy a non-Apple tablet either.

        1. Anonymous Blowhard

          Re: Embrace. Extend. Extinguish.

          I forgot to add my take on why Microsoft want to be on Raspberry Pi; which is most likely because they see it as a potential growth area in which they aren't already toast (i.e. mobile) and being second to the party is still better than not going at all (Apple?).

    3. Peter Brooks 1

      Re: Embrace. Extend. Extinguish.

      A long time == Never

      You can never trust a binary from anybody.

      With Microsoft nobody sane would trust their open source either.

      I'm expecting somebody to find a trojan in all that .NET bloat. It can only be a matter of time IMHO.

      1. daywalker03

        Re: Embrace. Extend. Extinguish.

        Well, given that they are most likely going to be using .NET Core/.NET Native to allow apps to run on the Pi (and other Windows Embedded platforms), and .NET Core is open source, I expect people to be keeping an eye on that.

    4. Suricou Raven

      Re: Embrace. Extend. Extinguish.

      Not so much negligence as differing priorities. Microsoft is very reluctant to do anything that would break backwards compatibility, which often means compromising on security. They also strongly dislike anything that could confuse or inconvenience users at all.

      1. Pookietoo
        FAIL

        Re: strongly dislike anything that could confuse or inconvenience users

        That explains why Windows 8 was so intuitive and user-friendly then.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Embrace. Extend. Extinguish.

      The story is different this time, this time I believe "they" want to support the platform: It should be clear by now that every tool, service and system offered by an American corporation is also a weapon in disguise, always ready to do the bidding of it's non-elected masters.

      The way the yanks see it, hackers, hobbyists and people freely running software on "off-shore" hardware simply weakens National Security, so they have to get their tentacles inside that space or else Terrorists, Child Molesters and Space Aliens will MURDER US ALL - possibly by corrupting our vital fluids!!!

      Microsoft is simply the gateway for the tentacled ones, know only by the Three Letter Acronyms. They are there because they are ordered to.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Embrace. Extend. Extinguish.

      >>> Microsoft have been negligent regarding security for a long time. We've all been bitten in the past, it will take a longer time to trust them again.

      Please, that BS is years out of date. A long time ago there were big security holes as they were taking what was effectively a standalone desktop operating system (early windows) and putting it on the internet, but those holes are long since patched. Now all the big scares seem to be decade old unix bugs and problems with the android malware.

      You're right to be worried though, MS has a techie in charge again and he's making ALL the right moves. Doesn't bear well for you "I trust google" dickheads.

  4. Palpy

    Fwoar! Oh, my.

    "... I think there’s a sense that 'you’re a real PC' if you run Windows.”

    Win 10 on ARM -- is it going to be RT redux? As Vaughan-Nichols wrote, "Windows RT, Windows 8 for ARM, is both a confusing mess and crippleware."

    *shrug*

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Fwoar! Oh, my.

      As well as no Win32 it seems yet have to run VS on another computer, compile, and deploy to the Pi.

      For universal apps on kiosk displays I suppose it'll work, I'm not sure about anything else.

      And here was me thinking MS had had a funny turn and Win32 on ARM was going to be unrestricted and VS was going to compile ARM.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: Fwoar! Oh, my.

        “I think there’s a sense that 'you’re a real PC' if you run Windows.”

        Filthy casuals!

    2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Looks like a cut down RT thing

      I found more information here. As I became a penguin last millennium, I could easily have misunderstood some the things I read about Windows for Pi.

      If I understand what I read there and elsewhere correctly, a Windows Pi is not a developer's computer. A developer works on some other computer, creates a Windows Pi executable and transfers it to a Pi to run. When the target is a 300MHz MIPS, OK. When the target is a single core 700MHz ARMv6, and the application is big, then OK, but for 4x900MHz ARMv7: Why?

      I think I found a why. If I understood correctly, Windows has some alternative to NFS with some weird authentication protocol that only Windows understands (excuse: I am a penguin, so really do not know what the Microsofties were talking about). Now you can connect to this stuff with a $35 pi instead of the $299 box Microsoft needed to run their software.

      The only really consistent thing I have seen about Windows for Pi is that Microsoft will make an announcement real soon now. I get the impression Marketing do not know anything yet and Microsoft's techies found out about the project from The Register.

    3. joed

      Re: Fwoar! Oh, my.

      and haven't they stop work on RT - no official 10 version for the platform, no new Surface, maybe some updates.

      Not that anyone cared.

      1. Hellcat

        Re: Fwoar! Oh, my.

        No, they said RT surfaces would get Windows 10, but not all the features. Not that it makes much difference to me and I even own one. The OS will still work long after Windows 10 is retired - same for Windows phone 7 handsets. They still make calls, text, facebook etc yadda yadda.

  5. sisk Silver badge

    Security???

    Ok, admittedly MS has made huge strides on improving their security, but they're a long ways from security being a reason that you choose Windows. And the most secure for IoT? Yeah, not even close. That would be BSD, with Linux as a close second and Windows still closing the gap.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Security???

      "That would be BSD, with Linux as a close second and Windows still closing the gap"

      You are out of date. Windows is a long way ahead of Linux there. Just look at website defacement stats and then divide by market share. You are far more likely to be compromised these days running a Linux server stack than a Windows one.

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: Security??? @AC

        "Just look at website defacement stats" - this old chestnut again.

        You're looking at the wrong thing. Websites may run on computers running Linux, but the code that delivers the web site is not Linux in the same way that IIS is not Windows, and a website defacement is not the same as an OS exploit. There may be some overlap, but it's very far from an exact match.

        I thought we had educated all the AC trolls that cannot distinguish between the OS and the applications running on the OS.

        1. Fibbles

          Re: Security??? @AC

          I thought we had educated all the AC trolls that cannot distinguish between the OS and the applications running on the OS.

          Education is pointless when they're paid to post the same FUD over and over again.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Security??? @ Peter Gathercole

          "I thought we had educated all the AC trolls that cannot distinguish between the OS and the applications running on the OS."

          We need to educate Microsoft to stop embedding code that belongs on the user side deep in the OS whenever they see an opportunity to shaft the competition. Sometimes the result is applications so tightly coupled to the OS there's not much point distinguishing where the exploit is.

          1. P. Lee Silver badge

            Re: Security??? @ Peter Gathercole

            Not sure why you got downvoted at all, never mind twice.

            I'm not sure why anyone cares, MS seem to be degrading RT to a curiosity. They could give this away for free. Its never going to a platform for Office, which is MS' cash cow. Windows users want to see a GUI. Like unaccelerated X on a Pi, its going to be disappointing, which means the main interest will be from command-line / server people. A home-based AD controller perhaps? That might be useful, if it could *do* domains. I don't see the point of a command-line phone/tablet OS.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Security??? @AC

          "but the code that delivers the web site is not Linux in the same way that IIS is not Windows"

          Last time I installed Apache, it came included with a Linux distribution in the exact same way that IIS is included with Windows....

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