The Linux kernel will introduce Rust, Linus: I apologize in case this messes up and I lose my temper

In the past few days, the 2022 Open Source Summit hosted by the Linux Foundation is here.

Linus Torvalds, the father of Linux, was also in attendance.

A small episode is that a photo of himself from the scene made many netizens and fans sigh:

Linus is really old!

Still, Linus, 53, said in a chat with his old friend, the chief open source officer of the Cardano Foundation, that he is still full of energy.

At the same time, he also revealed a big surprise :

The next version of the Linux kernel mainline may merge PR branches submitted in the Rust language .

30 years of undiminished passion for Linux

Linux was born in 1991 and is now 31 years old.

As one of the three major operating systems in the world, Linux has become an indispensable supporting foundation for technologies such as cloud, edge technology, embedded and IoT.

As the largest open source operating system, Linux is maintained by contributors in the open source community, with a new kernel version released every 6-10 weeks (that is, 1-2 months).

Of course, most of these updates were released by Linus himself.

In 2005, Linus invented Git to make the development of open source projects, including Linux, more efficient.

Since then, for at least 15 years, the development process of the Linux kernel has maintained a relatively constant rhythm, as has the regularity of releases.

Linus said that maintaining Linux seems dull, boring, and even boring, but I think that’s what everyone needs. Because a stable update process can give users peace of mind.

In fact, Linus thinks he’s happiest that the Linux project, despite being more than 30 years old, hasn’t gone dead.

(Original words: we’re not a dead project.)

There are still new things that surprise and delight me with Linux, he said, including innovations.

So, that keeps him still motivated by Linux.

The next kernel version may support Rust

Rust has been named the “most popular programming language” by the Stack Overflow developer survey every year since 2016.

Many people also began to call for the addition of Rust language support in the Linux kernel, and an organization called “Rust for Linux” was born.

The main reason for this phenomenon is that writing in Rust will bring higher utilization of computing memory resources and be more secure .

For example, at the Linux Security Summit held in 2019, someone proposed that Rust can avoid 2/3 of the memory security problems in Android and Ubuntu through the API provided by its type system and borrow checker.

So, is it possible that Rust will become the second official language besides C in the Linux kernel?

At the meeting, Linus also talked about this issue.

Surprisingly, he said that everyone thinks we have been avoiding risks, but in fact we will definitely add it, maybe starting from the next version !

That is to say, the official finally decided to embrace Rust and merge the PR of Rust for Linux into the main line of the Linux kernel .

This move won rounds of applause from the audience, and Linus took a lot of effort to calm everyone’s excitement.

You know, the support patch for Rust alone has been released to the seventh edition.

However, Linus also reminded immediately that it will only be tried in a very limited way. After all, 25 years ago when I tried to switch to C++ for some kernel patching operations, I failed.

(Meaning that it would be impossible to rewrite 25 million lines of C code in Rust.)

Then came an interesting scene.

Linus says he’s actually quite willing to trust every developer involved in Linux maintenance, but only if they don’t screw things up.

Once he screwed up, Linus said everyone knew he would “speak badly.” But he realized that it was very impolite, so he had to apologize later.

Linus embarrassedly said that this situation has not happened once or twice, “so now, please allow me to apologize to the programmers who write Rust .” (manual dog head)

The pressure is now on Rust’s side.

“Open source can never be 100% secure”

Finally, the conversation turned to open source security.

Recently, the Linux Foundation’s OpenSSF (Open Source Security Foundation) revealed that they will spend $150 million on security protection for open source software.

In this regard, Linus said that any open source project, including the Linux kernel, cannot expect to be 100% secure and 100% bug-free.

“If the bug does not appear in hardware, it will appear in software, and if it does not appear in your program, it will appear in someone else’s program.” (manual dog head)

“The only way is to build layers of security.”

He further explained that the Linux kernel is just one layer of the entire application stack. Inside the kernel, different parts of the process already have multiple layers of security in place.

The most important thing for developers responsible for building the entire stack is to have an idea of ​​what to do when a security breach occurs at any layer in the stack.

One More Thing

At present, the latest version of the Linux kernel is 5.19. The next version in Linus’s mouth is called 5.20 or 6.0 , which has also caused a lot of discussion among netizens.

Most people think it’s time to call 6.0 —

Not only because this version may finally incorporate the major update of Rust, but also don’t forget that the version number of Linux has never been in the “big number” heap. For example, after the previous version 3.19 ended, it jumped directly to 4.0~

What do you think?

The text and pictures in this article are from qubits


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