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FreeBSD Developers Explore Rust Integration

FreeBSD developers are assessing the possibility and benefits of bringing Rust into the base system.

In a recent development that could reshape the FreeBSD development path, Alan Somers, the mind behind the new FUSE driver implementation for FreeBSD, initiated discussions on incorporating the Rust programming language into the operating system’s base system.

Somers, also credited for authoring Rust wrappers for essential FreeBSD libraries, engaged in a comprehensive conversation with project committers to evaluate the costs and benefits of integrating Rust into the FreeBSD base system.

The primary cost identified during the discussions is a potential doubling of build times. Alan Somers suggested mitigating this by introducing an additional step after the ‘buildworld’ process for tasks requiring an external toolchain. This strategic move aims to alleviate the impact on build times while unlocking many benefits that Rust integration could offer.

The significant benefit highlighted in these discussions is the simplification and empowerment of utility development. Rust’s entry into the FreeBSD base system opens up new possibilities and efficiencies for developers, making the creation of certain tools more straightforward and, in some cases, even feasible. To clarify, a list of utilities has been compiled, most currently written in C++ and C, indicating potential candidates for rewriting in Rust.

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List of utilities that the team intend to rewrite in Rust if Rust support were to appear in the base system:

List of ports to the Rust language that could be ported to the base system if Rust support were introduced to the base system:

Various jail environment management systems which are already in Rust:

As FreeBSD developers weigh the trade-offs of build time increases against the promise of streamlined utility development, the potential benefits of integrating Rust into the base system would make FreeBSD more robust in the coming days.

Learn more in the discussion at the mailing list.

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