Today marks the launch of Windows 10, the latest in the long-running family of operating systems from software giant Microsoft - and the first which comes with a focus on the maker market. Although Windows enjoys an overwhelming majority share of the traditional PC market, Microsoft's most famous product has struggled with the rise of embedded and mobile systems where lightweight, typically Linux-powered, alternatives rule the roost.
The company's answer to this is three-fold: a unified experience across smartphones, tablets, convertibles, laptops and desktops; allowing users of Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 to upgrade to Windows 10 free of charge for the first year of its release; and a new focus on the maker community. For the first time, Windows 10 is available in an ultra-lightweight cut-down version suitable for ARM-based embedded systems and development boards, but that's only part of the story: as announced back in May, Windows 10 is the world's first operating system to receive official Arduino Certification.
This includes integration with the smartphone variant of Windows 10, allowing Lumia smartphones and their raft of sensors to be easily integrated into Arduino projects, and a Remote Arduino feature to control Arduino projects over Bluetooth using standard Windows application programming interface (API) calls - potentially introducing Windows software developers to the wonderful world of electronics tinkering for the very first time.
While Windows 10 is available from today, however, there's the usual word of warning: Microsoft has been fixing bugs in the operating system until the very last minute, and it's recommended to let the dust settle first before installing the operating system on any system on which you rely - and always have a backup of your important files to hand first.
More information on Windows 10 is available on Microsoft's micro-site.