Rust is a wave of the future

May 24, 2021

Recently I tweeted:

Once again I am being tempted to try out Rust, despite a relatively high confidence that I'm going to not like it. It's the wave of the future, though. Sooner or later I'm going to have to read and hack on Rust code.

More than five years ago, I wrote an entry on my feelings on using on Rust myself which I have since summarized to people as 'Rust cares about things that I don't any more'. I understand that Rust has much better ergonomics than it did in 2015 (when Rust 1.0 was just out), and so some of my other issues might be better.

But that's not why Rust is a wave of the future (in the manner of tweets, I said 'the wave'). Rust is a wave of the future because a lot of people are fond of it and they are writing more and more things in Rust, and some of these things are things that matter to plenty of people. There's Rust in your Python cryptography. There's Rust in Curl (sort of) (also). There's Rust in your librsvg. There's a lot of Rust in your Firefox. There are a growing number of command line tools written in Rust, including the excellent ripgrep. Someday there will probably be Rust in the Linux kernel. All of this is only growing with time, especially in the open source world.

All of this means that dealing with Rust is going to become increasingly necessary for me and a lot of people. We may not write it, but we need to be able to deal with programs that use it and are written in it. Our systems increasingly need a Rust build environment, I recently explored Rustup, and sooner or later I'm going to have to read and perhaps change Rust code in order to understand some problem we're having and perhaps fix it. Learning how to write some Rust myself is one way of getting the experience and knowledge necessary to do that well.

By the way, this isn't some nefarious conspiracy to force Rust on everyone. Some of it is that Rust really does solve problems that people have, but as I mentioned, a larger part of it is that lots of people genuinely like writing in Rust. When people like a programming language, things get written in that language and some of them become widely used or popular (or both). We saw this with Go in certain areas, and we're seeing this with Rust.

(There's an interesting question, one that I don't know the answer to, about why we haven't seen this for various other languages. Of course we have seen this for some; Javascript is large now and there are general tools written in it, and Java was large once upon a time. Some of it is likely that Rust can be airlifted into C and C++ programs relatively easily, but that doesn't explain programs written from scratch.)

Written on 24 May 2021.
« Why we don't have management connections to our switches (an old story)
Working around an AMDGPU automatic fan control problem on my Radeon RX 550 »

Page tools: View Source, Add Comment.
Login: Password:
Atom Syndication: Recent Comments.

Last modified: Mon May 24 23:43:02 2021
This dinky wiki is brought to you by the Insane Hackers Guild, Python sub-branch.