The case for Rust (in the FreeBSD base system)

FreeBSD is discussing adding Rust to the FreeBSD base system.

In a recent thread on src-committers, we discussed the costs and benefits of including Rust code in the FreeBSD base system. To summarize, the cost is that it would double our build times. imp suggested adding an additional step after buildworld for stuff that requires an external toolchain. That would ease the build time pain. The benefit is that some tools would become easier to write, or even become possible.

↫ Warner Losh on the freebsd-hackers mailing list

From everything I’ve read and what you, the readers, have told me, someone who isn’t a programmer, languages like Rust really are a big improvement over older languages, and it’s probably not a good idea for a major, important project like FreeBSD to isolate its base system from such progress. Now, I’m not at all qualified to say whether Rust, specifically, is the right choice, but a language like Rust should probably be part of the base system.

A big issue is FreeBSD’s architecture support. Rust is not well-supported or even supported at all on all the various platforms FreeBSD supports, which might prove to be a road block for now. That being said, letting barely used ISAs hamper your progress too much might not be a good idea either. Rust has already become a supported language for the development of the Linux kernel.


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