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Pi-eyed: Microsoft ships slimmed-down Windows 10 IoT Core for gizmos

If you don't have it on your PC, how about running it on your Raspberry Pi 2?

Microsoft has shipped the public release of Windows 10 IoT Core, the pared-down version of Windows 10 for embedded devices, including the Intel MinnowBoard Max and the Raspberry Pi 2.

Unlike ordinary Windows 10, the IoT Core flavor doesn't offer a traditional desktop as such. It's intended for devices that may or may not have screens, and the only GUI that's available is the one provided by the Universal Windows Platform (UWP), the new app development model that spans all types of Windows 10 devices.

The Reg took the preview version of the OS for a spin in May, shortly after it was unveiled at this year's Build developer conference. Most of the pieces were already in place in the preview, but the general-availability version brings some important additions, most notably support for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi networking.

Also, although Redmond is calling this the public release of Windows 10 IoT Core, it's still something of a work in progress. According to the release notes, it's "still being ported to the Raspberry Pi" and that version's graphics driver, in particular, is still wobbly. It also has limited support for camera devices, and even some USB mice and keyboards might not work.

"Use a different keyboard or mouse," Microsoft helpfully recommends.

Developers are also liable to encounter a variety of other glitches, ranging from video crashes to networking issues, but that's pretty much par for the course for an OS that's designed for custom hardware tinkering.

They'll also need to make sure their tool chain is up to date. The release version of IoT Core now requires a development machine running the release versions of Windows 10 (Built 10240) and Visual Studio 2015, and Microsoft says there were "a variety of breaking changes" since the preview version.

"For the most part, application code will remain functional, but the project itself will need to be rebuilt," Microsoft's Steve Teixeira said in a blog post. "The recommendation from the Visual Studio team is to build a new project and move the code over into the new project shell."

On the plus side, the new tools not only support UWP languages such as C++, C#, Visual Basic, and JavaScript, but they also include spruced-up support for Node.js and Python.

"The project templates for the standard UWP languages create projects that look like standard UWP projects, but for Node.js and Python we've worked hard to make these apps look and feel just like they do on other platforms," Teixeira explained.

He added that Microsoft has been working with the developer community with the goal of supporting "as many open source options as we can."

Redmond is making Windows 10 IoT Core available as a royalty-free option for device makers. Versions of the OS for MinnowBoard Max and Raspberry Pi 2 are available as free downloads here, along with links to downloads of Visual Studio 2015 and related tools. ®

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