The Linux kernel has maintained portability due to its dependence on the C programming language, but the serious adoption of Rust now threatens its dominance.
Ten-year-old Mozilla technology has emerged as a major force, offering the same level of flexibility as classic compiled languages, while providing interoperability with C. Kernel developers have long discussed whether to bring Rust to Linux, and the Linux kernel now includes a stable Rust compiler. This led kernel developer Miguel Ojeda to introduce a patch that would make Rust his second official language.
Steve J Vaughan-Nichols of ZDNet spoke to senior Linux kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman, who suggests Rust code might start to creep into the kernel at the driver level. “The drivers are probably the first place for an attempt like this, because they are the ‘end leaves’ of the dependency tree in the kernel source. They depend on the functionality of the kernel, but nothing depends on it. Says Hartman. Linus Torvalds agrees, saying drivers are an “obvious” target.
This doesn’t mean there is an effort to rewrite an existing kernel source in Rust, but if new kernel development goes in that direction, we might be looking at a very different codebase 10 years from now.
Source: lkml.org via ZDNet