In January 2016, Google announced that they will be switching the Linux kernel to use the new language Rust. This has created a lot of excitement, but many people are also quite worried about this change. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of moving the Linux kernel to Rust, and why the change may be necessary in the long run.
What does this mean?
The Linux kernel is written in the C programming language. The Rust programming language is a new language that has been gaining popularity due to its focus on safety and security. The idea of letting the Linux kernel rust is to allow it to be rewritten in Rust, which would improve its safety and security. This is a controversial idea, as many people believe that rewriting the kernel would be a massive undertaking with no guarantee of success. There are also concerns about whether Rust is ready for such an endeavor or not.
Regardless, proponents of this plan argue that if we wait too long, there will come a time when we will not have the expertise necessary to make this change successfully. They argue that it is better to start now so that we can catch up before the window closes. As always, more research needs to be done before any decision can be made. In order to determine whether rewriting the kernel in Rust is worth the risk, a number of questions need to be answered: How much work will it take? What challenges may arise?
How much demand exists for software developers who know how to write code in Rust? What challenges may exist when using Rust’s garbage collector? Will the increased emphasis on safety and security outweigh other potential drawbacks?
The pros and cons
There are pros and cons to letting the Linux kernel rust. On the one hand, it would be a more secure system because there would be fewer ways for attackers to exploit it. On the other hand, it would be less stable and more difficult to maintain. In the end, it’s up to you to decide whether the benefits outweigh the risks.
If you’re willing to take on the challenge of maintaining an open-source project that is unstable and vulnerable to attack, then go ahead! Just make sure you have backups of your data at all times. One day you may come back to find your computer unusable. You might even want to limit the number of administrative privileges in order to mitigate risk.
There are many advantages and disadvantages to allowing the Linux kernel (Linux’s core) to rust. Security: It is believed that having a compiler or interpreter built into the operating system can introduce security vulnerabilities as they will often try execute code from memory or read memory outside their own process space, which can cause crashes and security breaches if exploited.
A closer look at transpilation, what it is, how it works and why it’s used.
Transpilation is the process of converting code from one language to another. In this case, it would be converting code from Rust to C. For example, if you have a Rust function that takes in an integer argument and returns an integer argument as well (int myFunction(int x) -> int), then transpiling that into C would produce a function that takes in an integer argument and returns an integer argument as well (int myFunction(int x) -> int). The benefit to using transpilation for languages like Rust is that the resulting output will be more efficient than if it were written by hand. One downside, however, is that the conversion won’t necessarily follow all compiler-specific rules: A compile error might occur or the performance could suffer due to optimizations not being applied.
Why should you care?
First, a little bit of background: the Linux kernel is the heart of the operating system that powers millions of devices around the world, from phones to servers. It’s been around for over 25 years and is constantly being improved by a team of hundreds of developers. But because it has so many components, it also has many bugs (over 2000 are still open). So what if we could make the bug fixing process faster?
What if we could write code that doesn’t have these bugs in the first place? That’s where Rust comes in. Rust can help us write more reliable code by catching problems before they happen. And now, with today’s release of Linux 4.8-rc1, the time it takes to build the kernel with Rust instead of C++ has decreased from about 60 minutes to 15 minutes on an eight-core machine with 16GB RAM running Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.