18/02/2019 | Okudzeto o. prince
The compact Raspberry Pi is one of the most popular computing and DIY project platforms for its low price and large user base. One thing is unknown: running Windows. Although the Windows 10 IoT core can be deployed to RBP, the platform is not really intended to work with the Windows 10 ecosystem.
As of now, that’s changed — at least unofficially. Programmer José Manuel Nieto has rolled up a Windows-on-ARM (WoA) installer. That’s according to Forbes via Windows Latest, which originally broke the story. Nieo also links to the core package downloads the WoA installation requires. He writes:
“Please note that the WoA installer is just a tool to help you with your deployment. The WoA installer requires a set of binary files, the core package, to do its job. These binaries are not mine, but packaged, just to make your life easier, because this tool is concerned with simplicity.”
On the one hand, this is a curiosity, a useless experiment. Currently, only B and B+ models are supported. Even though the entire package runs flawlessly, with Windows 10 running on the ARM Cortex-A53 quad-core processor, its 1.4GHz speed and 1GB of DDR3 memory sound more like a punishment than a pleasure. However, the interesting aspect of this concept is that it will make WoA a potential fan project for those interested in the combination of the two. There is a Raspberry Pi 4 under development, and it will definitely bring more resources. At the same time, Microsoft continues to invest in improving WoA.
Just because you can use the Windows ISO to launch SoC informally doesn’t mean that Microsoft, ARM, or any other vendor will suddenly start investing in the WoA ecosystem, but it’s still an achievement of this idea.
Hardware tinkering in the PC space has been x86-centric for a very long time. Even when Apple still used PowerPC chips, the relatively small market share these parts enjoyed limited their user communities. Of course, Microsoft has been pushing products built on Snapdragon parts as part of the overall Windows on ARM initiative, but these aren’t hobbyist endeavors.
Will it change the world? Maybe not. But it’s good to see Windows 10 being expanded in an unauthorized way. Arguing that a piece of software running on an operating system (or hardware running an operating system) has never been supposed to be running has always been interesting, which is why some of the people may be showing their eyeballs in a doom that others have used to pacemakers. Current RBP iterations are unlikely to run Windows at any level close to reasonable performance levels, but who knows in the long run?