Google's Android team supports Rust for developing the Android operating system. Now they're also helping evaluate Rust for Linux kernel development. Their hopes, among other things, are that "New code written in Rust has a reduced risk of memory safety bugs, data races and logic bugs overall," that "abstractions that are easier to reason about," and "More people get involved overall in developing the kernel, thanks to the usage of a modern language."
Linus Torvalds responded in a new interview with IT Wire (shared by Slashdot reader juul_advocate):
The first patches for Rust support in the Linux kernel have been posted and the man behind the kernel says the fact that these are being discussed is much more important than a long post by Google about the language. Linus Torvalds told iTWire in response to queries that Rust support was "not there yet", adding that things were "getting to the point where maybe it might be mergeable for 5.14 or something like that..." Torvalds said that it was still early days for Rust support, "but at least it's in a 'this kind of works, there's an example, we can build on it'."
Asked about a suggestion by a commenter on the Linux Weekly News website, who said, during a discussion on the Google post, "The solution here is simple: just use C++ instead of Rust", Torvalds could not restrain himself from chortling. "LOL," was his response. "C++ solves _none_ of the C issues, and only makes things worse. It really is a crap language.
"For people who don't like C, go to a language that actually offers you something worthwhile. Like languages with memory safety and [which] can avoid some of the dangers of C, or languages that have internal GC [garbage collection] support and make memory management easier. C++ solves all the wrong problems, and anybody who says 'rewrite the kernel in C++' is too ignorant to even know that."
He said that when one spoke of the dangers of C, one was also speaking about part of what made C so powerful, "and allows you to implement all those low-level things efficiently".
Torvalds added that, while garbage collection is "a very good thing in most other situations," it's "generally not necessarily something you can do in a low-level system programming."
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