Is Rust the Greatest Language in the Last Decade

Everywhere you turn, all you hear about is Rust. Rust this, Rust that. Everyone is talking about it, writing about it, and supporters are forcing their narrative down our throats.

There is no denying that Rust, the general purpose programming language, has been on a tear in 2022. Rabid supporters and users describe it as the most significant programming language invented in years. Is it? Let’s see what the community is saying about it.

Most Love Programming Language

We’ve heard it a hundred times already, but let’s repeat it, Rust has been the most loved programming language for the last six years. It’s making waves in the MAFANG (FAANG + Microsoft) ecosystem, the CDN industry, gaming, embedded devices, and several more. Many large and small companies have incorporated it into their software stacks, replacing aging codebases like C, C++, and Node, but they’re also creating new apps.

Rust Facts

  • Mozilla launched Rust 0.1, the first release, on Jan 2012.
  • Rust Version 1.0.0 came out on May 2015, with the latest version being 1.63.0.
  • Defined as “a strongly-typed systems programming language with a focus on memory safety and concurrency.”
  • Rust is an excellent solution for replacing older C and C++ codebases.
  • Rust has been the most loved language by programmers for six years.
  • Western Digital is working on NVMe drivers developed in Rust.
  • Contributors are implementing Rust into the Linux kernel.

The momentum behind the explosion of Rust is also due to the extensive ecosystem of web frameworks, libraries, modules, tools, and features, supporting it.

Industry Impact

The impact Rust is having on the tech industry is unprecedented. Just ask Linus Torvalds. After 31 years, he said Linux would incorporate a second programming language starting in Version 6.1. That means it’s being implemented into the kernel as we speak.

Next is Microsoft. They have given developers the tools to create Windows applications in Rust. More importantly, there is talk that Microsoft is considering, if not already do it, replacing old codebases in Windows with Rust. Their fascination with Rust was echoed by Microsoft CTO Mark Russinovich when he tweeted the following, which caused quite a stir:

Speaking of languages, it’s time to halt starting any new projects in C/C++ and use Rust for those scenarios where a non-GV language is required. For the sake of security and reliability, the industry should declare those languages as deprecated.

Facebook is one of the loudest voices in the Rust community. Not only have they deployed Rust throughout its software stack, often replacing older C and C++ codebases, but they also want everyone else to use it.

Cloudflare, the mighty CDN bent on challenging the goliath AWS, replaced its Nginx layer with a custom Rust solution they call Pingora. For those in the CDN industry, that’s a big deal since Nginx is one of the most popular open-source proxy/caching software products on the market. On a side note, Nginx seems to be losing fanfare across the industry.

Fly.io, the hot startup that built a platform to deliver containerized apps and database services at the edge, created a proxy called fly-proxy using Rust.

Intel, the giant of the CPU industry, is one of the most ardent supporters of Rust. They are working hard to elevate Rust so it has parity with C. That means it will have all the features and do everything that C can.

Twitter developed Pelikan Cache to modernize a legacy system running on Memcached and Redis. Initially, Pelikan was developed in C, but the lack of TLS support prevented it from being rolled out. After the team created Rust-based prototypes and conducted performance tests that passed with flying colors, they rolled it out. Yes, the Twitter team rewrote the entire Pelikan platform in Rust.

Google is using Rust in Android. In 2019, they found that half of the security vulnerabilities found in Android were due to memory safety bugs even though using tools they invented, like AnddressSanitizer and memory allocators. Rust solved these issues, which surpassed the capabilities of those tools.

We could go on with the use cases, but we’ll stop here.

We are going back to our question. Is Rust the greatest programming language of the last decade? The answer is yes, based on our observations, and it is not only because of the language itself but the extensive ecosystem of frameworks, features, modules, and tools supporting it. More to come on the Rust ecosystem.

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