Windows CE


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by benhofb » Fri May 25, 2012 3:06 am
I am actually pretty surprised no one has mentioned this operating system for the Raspberry pi, but I suppose I will go ahead and do so...

For those who do not know, Windows CE is an ARM version of Windows that works on cellphones, PDAs, tablets and those cheepo laptops you see around at CVS by Sylvania. These laptops (if that is what you want to call them, they're more like MIDs than a laptop). Okay, these MIDs run a Wondermedia WM8650 ARM processor and clock at about 200-500Mhz. And because those MIDs are sooo common and generic, there are loads of varitions. Some have 128MB of RAM, some have 256 and some even have 512 (these are more expensive and rarer).

My big pitch here is this: why don't we port Windows CE to the raspberry pi? I know that it kills the notion of it being a Linux Box, but I think it would be very nice to one day have many different choices of OSes for the device.

Windows CE has a user interface very similar to Windows 95 and 98. The grey toolbar and stuff is all there, but there are limitations:
1: It is not by any means on par with it's x86 bretheren. There have been many applications ported onto WinCE that are similar to the programs you can run on 95, 98, or XP.
2: No, it cannot run the applications that run on 95, 98, or XP.
3: I do not believe there is flash for WinCE, but I may be wrong...
WinCE is flashed to a memory card and runs a little installer and then boom goes the dynamite, you have a Windows-Like environment.

I have used one of those wondermedia arm MIDs, and have seen the potential of the OS. It is pretty basic indeed, but it is simple and very easy for windows users. This would give an option to people who maybe are not willing to try Linux yet (which they should... I have Ubuntu dual-booting on my machine and love it!).

Anyhoots, I am still new to the coding scene and all that, so don't expect a port from me :) . I just wanted to share my idea with the RPi community and also see if anyone has any plans to do this.

Comments and thoughts are more then welcome!

EDIT: I actually found out the newest version of Windows CE, WinCE 7 has flash support. You can read about it more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_CE
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by felix123 » Fri May 25, 2012 3:58 am
Question 1, how do you propose we get the source code?
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by thekeywordgeek » Fri May 25, 2012 9:06 am
felix123 wrote:Question 1, how do you propose we get the source code?


Surprisingly, that part is very easy if you have the cash. You licence it from Microsoft. They'll always take your money! :)

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsembedde ... act-7.aspx

It's an interesting idea, to bring the familiar Windows interface to the Pi for users not prepared to make the jump to Linux. However I would question whether CE would be the best way to do it even if it were freely available. Perhaps a Windows 95-like skin for whichever Linux window manager you choose would be a more practical choice, if one that might grate with OSS enthusiasts.
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by bredman » Fri May 25, 2012 9:35 am
If you only want the look of Windows, it is easy to re-skin the desktop. For example see
http://lifehacker.com/5619064/w7-theme- ... i-to-linux

This may look cool, but will cause a lot of problems. If the user is in a familiar environment, he will expect all of the familiar applications to be available. Also, more importantly, he will expect the same level of performance.
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by obarthelemy » Fri May 25, 2012 9:39 am
Actually, this has been mentioned several times almost since day 1. Can't seem to search for "windows ce" though.

IIRC, the issues were that
- nobody's really interested in paying to port it, document it, support it. Especially not the Foundation.
- the benefits are few, mostly "it looks like Windows", which can be achieved in Linux too with minimal effort
- there's a lot less software, especially on the "learning to program" side of things, but also.. on all other sides...
- it's not FOSS, so people have practical (limited hacking/tweaking) and philosophical issues with it.

My pet one: there's already too many OSes/distros available/planned for the Pi. We need to stop self-fragmenting and focus on putting out one that works, and works wel, and is supported and documented.
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by benhofb » Sat May 26, 2012 6:06 pm
obarthelemy wrote:Actually, this has been mentioned several times almost since day 1. Can't seem to search for "windows ce" though.

IIRC, the issues were that
- nobody's really interested in paying to port it, document it, support it. Especially not the Foundation.
- the benefits are few, mostly "it looks like Windows", which can be achieved in Linux too with minimal effort
- there's a lot less software, especially on the "learning to program" side of things, but also.. on all other sides...
- it's not FOSS, so people have practical (limited hacking/tweaking) and philosophical issues with it.

My pet one: there's already too many OSes/distros available/planned for the Pi. We need to stop self-fragmenting and focus on putting out one that works, and works wel, and is supported and documented.


Very true; people would expect too much out of the OS, but like I said, I think it would provide an interesting alternative to linux (not that there is anything wrong with linux). And it is also true that not many people would be willing to support such an OS on the RPi when there are so many nice flavours of linux coming out and other ARM based OSes (which are all free). Although, I did read somewhere that the BeagleBoard has WinCE 7 as one of the OSes it supports. Does anyone know more about this? I am almost curious if someone got the permission from microsoft...

But another thing is that on Microsoft Embedded's website, they allow you to download all of their variants of CE (I just recently got the latest revision of 6). But still, I imagine it would take someones time and money to port the OS to the RPi.
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by chris1982 » Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:02 am
As a background the Windows CE port was done by MPC Data Limited (now part of BSquare). A free binary evaluation image can be obtained from Bsquare. The BSP (Board Support Package) sources are available for commercial use at cost:
http://www.youtube.com/user/MPCData

Developing a Windows CE image is done using Platform Builder which is available from Microsoft. Platform Builder is a plug-in for Microsoft Visual Studio which also comes with a large portion of the source code for Windows CE and everything which you would need to port to an ARM, MIPS or x86 architecture. You can download a 180 day trial of Platform Builder for free from Microsoft:
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsembedde ... opers.aspx

Other resources which you may find helpful:
- Windows CE 6.0 MCTS exam Preparation Kit (Lots of good information) - http://www.microsoft.com/windowsembedde ... p-kit.aspx
- Resources and walk through videos are also available here http://www.microsoft.com/windowsembedde ... opers.aspx

I don't see any particular reason why the Raspberry Pi cannot run Windows CE (it has all the necessary bits). However there will be several hurdles to cross:
- The video core is only available in binary form, without the video core sources ported to Windows CE it will not be possible to use hard accelerated OpenGL or video support on the Raspberry Pi platform.
- Limited information about the chip. Although enough information can be obtained from the reduced manuals and also the existing Linux sources there may not be enough information to fully utilise the chip to it's best abilities.

I personally would like to see the Raspberry Pi run Windows CE mainly for the following reasons:
- The development environment used to create native and managed applications can be easily learnt using a shallow learning curve from existing Windows development knowledge.
- Windows CE has a lot of potential and is used in quite a lot of industry products without most people knowing about it. The Windows CE community doesn't blow it own trumpet anywhere near as much as it should.
- Windows CE is not dead and is being actively developed and developed upon.

You will find one of the hardest parts will be the initial board bring up getting the OAL (OEM Adapatation Layer - Sits between the hardware and the Kernel) and KITL (Kernel Independent Transport Layer - Used as the transport for the Kernel debugger) can take a lot of careful crafting and time.

You may find references to Windows Compact, Windows Compact is essentially the new marketing name for Windows CE so Windows CE 5, Windows Embedded CE 6.0, Windows Embedded Compact 7.0. More information about products using Windows Embedded can be found here:
http://www.windowsfordevices.com/

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by chris1982 » Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:47 am
chris1982 wrote:As a background the Windows CE port was done by MPC Data Limited (now part of BSquare). A free binary evaluation image can be obtained from Bsquare. The BSP (Board Support Package) sources are available for commercial use at cost:
http://www.youtube.com/user/MPCData


This is in reference to the Beagleboard and Beagleboard xM Board Support Packages for Windows CE, and not a port for the Raspberry Pi.
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by Newborn » Sun Aug 26, 2012 4:14 am
Hello all,
I come as newbie not for just to this forum but in general to embedded systems work etc.
I will learnt to trim my posts, and if this to much/confusing then just let me know. I am new to
alot of this (the forum interaction, but much more so the tech).
The last and about only time I wrote code was ~30 yrs ago, but in the last few months I have had to dive , which has finally pushed me into the digital domain (it always scared me too much detail), but now I like it :) )

So please tolerate the lack of knowledge and syntax, and despite that I going to ask as a rather large question and only am asking for feedback and guidance to point me in the right direction (more details later).

I will ask the broad question in brief if you have feedback then I'll ask more and fee free to dump (criticism welcome). I am now in the middle of the my first big chunk of the embedded system, just starting to use RS232 to integrated signals (later I think I want to go CAN BUS). But when the embedded part is going good, and I want to keep the embedded modules pretty much standalone and really report only. I need a very reliable device following simple algorithms (critical ones at the embedded level which so far is good), BUT I do know I want high level tools (for example I want to integrate skype into my system (meaning it sitting on top of something, preferably Linux (as one or a few of you already said, and I prefer from philosophical point of view, and there is the big BUTT (I actually loved my 15 year old WinCE (ver 3.0) if I remember right.
*Instant on
*battery lasted for ~10 hours of use, and ~1 week in the closet
*I never had it crash (amazing huh?)
*had all the familiarity (could run all the 3 party apps I want (simply skype, videos (training), excell for data loggin (going through LabView) now.
* I think it was just so damn simple and limited that they actually kept their goals within the possibility space. And this is just what I need in my system (KISS, but still 24/7 uptime, data logging, alarmes etc.

My friend just yesterday told me about Raspberry PI, (I looked into Blackfinn (even Gameduino) and now I'm using 4D Displays so I am getting my toes wet and just barely understand what it means that Win CE was ARM-MIDI based, and while I think I maybe like to go with the Win CE, it also sounds like whatever thing of Value MS has they soon enough bury it and then try to create control minds by sheer weight of tedious detail in the own proprietary packages. ( all pissy attitude aside, I am very quickly learning that this embedded systems work is heavy duty. you guys are heros, making more difference that you probably thing). If you can help with some guidance (as I am getting close to some crossroads of architecture planning) and wisdom from any who got the time, lay it on me

I am doing an embedded system (focusing with Ardunio because the community so nice and it help some one like me to get into to the game (yeas I know a little bit of knowledge is a scary thing).

Thanks if you made it through,
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by ghans » Wed Aug 29, 2012 12:56 pm
@Newborn
I'm by no means a expert , but I think a COMBINATION of Rpi and Arduino might be the best way to go.
Especially if you consider the great community behind both.

On WinCE: Somebody clever invented Kickstarter , the crowd-funding platform. Really , thats all I have to say.

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by Newborn » Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:02 pm
Thank you for the response . sorry so late in getting back to you.
I am absorbing a lot of info (a bit swamped), but hanging in there and enjoying the new knowledge.

I may contact you more on this, sorry right now i ma occupied by other political problems and has taken over my attention for the moment.
Thanks for you your feedback and will get back to you later.
Thanks
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by Mequa » Sun Sep 09, 2012 10:04 pm
Would it be possible to run a version of Windows CE on the Raspberry Pi using some kind of virtualisation software on top of (e.g.) Linux? Using a VM could bypass the need for a native port of a closed-source OS, while still being ARM-native.

I'm not sure how this would perform, or of possible legal issues, but WinCE runs on much slower ARM-based devices than the R.Pi.
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by ghans » Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:37 am
Where do you get this WinCE from ? Yes, it may be possible ,
QEMU features a variety of ARM clients.

@Newborn
Start seperate threads for each of yoir ideas. This thread mustn't go
completely OT :D

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by Warg » Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:42 pm
So, to kickstart this thread again, I happen to have a MSDN AA account with access to Windows Embedded 7 Compact, as the latest version of WinCE is titled.

I am currently in the process of setting up the dev environment (~64GB, ouch), and will start looking at the feasibility of starting a port in the next few days.

I am on IRC as much as I can, currently idling in the #RazDroid channel on freenode. Join and /msg me (same nick as on these forums) if you have access to the same files as I have and want to collaborate.

DISCLAIMER:
I am not by any means promising a full port, not even a partial port, heck, not even to start working on a port at all. I'm currently attending a university, and that is my main focus at the moment. If I determine that a port is feasible, I will start working on that. Even if I start working, I'm not promising any results whatsoever. If a port is successfully made, I am not promising any support, updates etc. at all.
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by Warg » Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:27 pm
Warg wrote:I happen to have a MSDN AA account with access to Windows Embedded 7 Compact

Should say Dreamspark Premium account, as a regular Dreamspark account doesn't have access to the Compact version that's required to get it to run on ARM.
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by Mr.Dave » Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:15 pm
Theres a free evaluation version
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by aaa801 » Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:58 pm
Mr.Dave wrote:Theres a free evaluation version

Doesnt include kernel
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by Mr.Dave » Thu Sep 13, 2012 11:54 am
aaa801 wrote:
Mr.Dave wrote:Theres a free evaluation version

Doesnt include kernel


Ah right thanks
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by dboling » Fri Oct 05, 2012 4:34 pm
I am currently in the process of porting Windows Embedded Compact 7 (think of it as CE 7) to the Raspberry Pi. The kernel is up. I'm still working on getting KITL (the pc-to-device debugger link) up and getting a trivial display driver working. At that point, I'll post the BSP source on CodePlex and folks can have at it.

Doug
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by Newborn » Thu Oct 11, 2012 6:06 pm
ghans, I will look into the Rpi and Arduino as a combo. (sounds a bit daunting thought).

Also you suggestion on KickStart is on my desk, trying to see when I can address is seriously, but good suggestion, others have, but I'm not quite ready.
Honestly the hardest part for a newbie is filtering thorough so many options. Even the 4D guys said why don't, I just use 4D by itself (it could almost do it). But yes you are right, community is key and that's what helped get this far, experience and feedback.
By the way to the those arguing Linux instead, that was the first plan and I probably with stick with it (then have to learn linux some ..... :(. But this was just to consider options, old and new and get feedback, it gives me a start.
Thanks

Newborn
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by Jethin » Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:24 am
Hi All,

i hope this thread is still active, i would also be interested in being a part getting into rasberi Pi with Window CE running,

Is any body have a initial bsp for rasbery pi

Regards
Jethin
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by 6677 » Thu Dec 13, 2012 7:07 pm
dboling wrote:At that point, I'll post the BSP source on CodePlex and folks can have at it.

Would break the copyright license I believe
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by MaDoGK » Fri Dec 14, 2012 9:29 am
Personally i agree with obarthelemy, theres to many distros. We should aim at perfecting one or a few distros.

That being said, if your gonna make a windows for the pi, why not go for windows RT?
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by ghans » Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:32 am
I suppose WinRT has even harsher license terms ?
And then , it has high hardware requirements and
needs secure boot which both aren't available on the Pi.
Futhermore , it is designed for ARMv7 , not ARMv6 boards AFAIK.


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by jamesh » Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:51 am
MaDoGK wrote:Personally i agree with obarthelemy, theres to many distros. We should aim at perfecting one or a few distros.

That being said, if your gonna make a windows for the pi, why not go for windows RT?


Well, the Foundation only really concentrates on one distro - Raspbian. That's where all the dev work is done, where all the 'perfection' is aimed!

BUT, anyone can roll their own distro, or port their own OS etc. And they are more than welcome to do so - it is after all a great learning experience! And of course they all benefit form the work done on Raspbian.
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