The Raspberry Pi was acclaimed as the saviour of the technology industry in the UK when it went on sale back in March, but it could now appeal to an even wider audience as it has been rigged to run Windows 7.
The Raspberry Pi was created by a group of people led by Eben Upton who were worried about the decline in computer skills of those entering third level education. The inexpensive device was designed to be bought by education institutes as a cheap way of getting students interested in programming computers again.
The Raspberry Pi is an ARM-based machine meaning that Windows software will not run on it natively. The open source Linux operating system was the preferred software to use with the Pi, letting developers create a range of programs for the device.
This approach will have put many people off, particularly those used to the Windows interface, but a solution may now be possible, allowing you to run Windows 7 on your £22 Raspberry Pi.
The team over at Citrix, which specialises in desktop virtualisation, has managed to find a way to get Windows 7 running on multiple Raspberry Pis without the need to buy multiple Windows licences.
Using Citrix XenDesktop virtual desktop infrastructure, the team, as you can see in the video below, were able to run a Windows 7 virtual desktop session.
Liz Upton, wife of Eben, who runs the Raspberry Pi blog added: "Run a bunch of instances of Windows on your server, push the displays out to many Raspberry Pis, and you've got a cheap way of getting Windows onto desks at work, without having to fork out for a full-cost PC."
The potential to turn the Raspberry Pi into an inexpensive machine for businesses may not have been the initial reason for creating it, but thanks to the ingenuity of the developer community, it could be a real possibility.
The Raspberry Pi computer will come in two configurations (Model A and Model B). Both computers are equipped with an RCA video port, a 3.5mm audio jack, a USB port, a microUSB power port, an SD card slot, an HDMI port and as we said, a 700Mhz Broadcom SoC.
Model A of the Raspberry Pi, has 256MB of RAM and no Ethernet connect. Model B will also have RAM to 256MB, add a second USB 2.0 port and also add a 10/100 Ethernet port. Currently only Model B is available, costing £22.
You will have to boot the machine from an SD card but a USB hard drive can take over after the initial boot. It is not possible to boot without an SD card. Switching it on and off is simply a matter of plugging it in and out.
Following a manufacturing hiccup, the first tranche of Raspberry Pi computers shipped last month to eager developers and enthusiasts.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation is now working with suppliers to ramp up production and will be hoping to ship large numbers of the small computer by September.
Interest in the Raspberry Pi has been huge from both UK sources and abroad, with educational institutes among those looking to place large orders.