Windows 10 and Ubuntu prepare for IoT battle on Raspberry Pi 2

The Raspberry Pi 2, announced Monday, looks set to be a focal point for the internet-of-things (IoT) development efforts of both Microsoft and Canonical – both will be providing free operating systems for the low-cost device.

Because the $35 quad-core computer is based on the ARMv7 architecture, it is powerful enough to run the recently announced Ubuntu Core, a lightweight version of the popular Linux distribution that will work across drones, robots, smart devices and home hubs. That much was clear from the specs – earlier Raspberry Pis used unsuitable architecture – and the Ubuntu Core image for Raspberry Pi 2 is already available, but the news that a free version of Windows 10 will also run on the device is more of a surprise.

In a Monday blog post, Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton wrote:

For the last six months we’ve been working closely with Microsoft to bring the forthcoming Windows 10 to Raspberry Pi 2. Microsoft will have much more to share over the coming months. The Raspberry Pi 2-compatible version of Windows 10 will be available free of charge to makers.

Microsoft’s internet of things efforts have so far generally been limited to the provision of a cloud back-end in the form of Azure, but in July last year the company rolled out an IoT developer program with a focus on Intel’s x86-based Galileo board.

The Raspberry Pi has a huge following in the maker community, though, which is doubtless why [company]Microsoft[/company] is making Windows 10 available for that device as well as for the Arduino-compatible Galileo.

Here’s what Microsoft had to say in its own Raspberry Pi 2 blog post:

Windows 10 is the first step to an era of more personal computing. This vision framed our work on Windows 10, where we are moving Windows to a world that is more mobile, natural and grounded in trust. With the Windows for IoT developer program we’re bringing our leading development tools, services and ecosystem to the Raspberry Pi community!

We see the Maker community as an amazing source of innovation for smart, connected devices that represent the very foundation for the next wave of computing, and we’re excited to be a part of this community.