The Linux kernel has maintained portability due to reliance on the C programming language, but serious adoption of Rust now threatens its dominance.
Mozilla’s decade old technology has become a major force, offering the same level of flexibility afforded by classic compiled languages, while offering interoperability with C. Kernel developers have long discussed the possibility of bringing Rust to Linux, and the Linux kernel now includes a stable Rust compiler. This has led Kernel developer Miguel Ojeda to introduce a patch that would make Rust its second official language.
ZDNet's Steve J Vaughan-Nichols spoke with Senior Linux kernel developer Greg Kroah-Hartman who suggests Rust code could begin infiltrating the kernel at a driver level. "Drivers are probably the first place for an attempt like this as they are the 'end leaves' of the tree of dependencies in the kernel source. They depend on core kernel functionality, but nothing depends on them.", says Hartman. Linus Torvalds agrees, saying drivers are an “obvious” target.
This does not mean there is an effort to rewrite any existing kernel source in Rust, but if new kernel development trends in this direction, we could be looking at a wildly different codebase 10 years from now.
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