Here is some good news coming from the Windows Embedded team, announced yesterday on their blog: faculties & academic institutions who have an MSDN Academic Alliance (MSDNAA) subscription will soon be able to get a special version of Windows Embedded Standard 2009 for use in teaching and research projects!
The problem with the evaluation version of WES 2009 is that the images built with the toolset (target designer) are time-bombed and will expire after about 120 days – which is too short for most real-world projects. So the product team built a special version where the images only expire after one year, which seems like suitable for most projects, and thus a good compromise. (Faculties who have special needs for images that never expire can still purchase the full toolkit from a distributor for about 995 USD.)
So I think this is a great thing, and will hopefully lead to some exciting projects being done by students and researchers.