Programming

Rust advances to become the second language of the Linux kernel

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Rust is called to do great things, to the extent that it has been proposed that Linux be rewritten, at least partially, in said programming language. Linus Torvalds did not close the door to this possibility, but the creator of the kernel, who is not very disruptive, showed some skepticism about how the technology from Mozilla would work when push comes to shove.

However, the strong interest in bringing Rust to Linux, together with the enormous potential that the official implementation of the language holds, suggested that its introduction was going to take place sooner rather than later, and as has been seen recently, that’s how it will be, given that some developers are taking important steps to make Rust the second language of the Linux kernel.

Before proceeding further, it is important to note that Linux, at least at the project level, not pure C for a long time. This means that Rust would not be the first outsider that “sneaks” into one of the projects that, to this day, remains one of the main bastions of the C language, which has endured and continues to endure as one of the great references of low-level programming.

The proposed change by developer Miguel Ojeda would make Rust code introduced in Linux will be supported by the stable version of the compiler instead of the beta branch. Said code would be migrated on every stable release of the Rust compiler, which is currently at version 1.57. In doing this, Ojeda explained that they have “Been able to remove some unstable features from the list” they were using.

While the Linux rewriting in Rust still sounds implausible, it is true that the language has found several facets that it can cover. Here both Linus Torvalds and Greg Kroah-Hartman pointed out at the time that drivers would be Rust’s first target within Linux. On the other hand, Torvalds acknowledged that in some respects they have pushed C to the limit for kernel development.

The rationale for including Rust on Linux it’s not for fashion, but because the official implementation of the programming language presents improvements compared to C when reduce the chances of security breaches at the memory level. In this way, according to Miguel Ojeda himself, C’s undefined behavior problems are eliminated thanks to the fact that “Rust does not have an undefined behavior”.

If what is proposed on the front in question is approved, it is likely that Rust will begin to have a real role in Linux as of the year 2022. Seeing Linux rewritten in Rust continues to sound at this time more like a chimera than anything else, more watching which is a project that is close to 30 million lines of code, but every path begins to be covered with the first step and technological advances could push in that direction to keep the kernel at the bottom of the cannon.

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