A recent proposal to make the Rust programming language one of the two main languages for the Linux kernel is getting a major boost from Google and the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG). The group is behind the Let’s Encrypt certificate authority.
The main goal for this proposal is to push Rust into prominence and get it implemented in Linux, to get rid of an entire layer of memory-related security bugs in the kernel. Being a crucial part of the infrastructure that runs everything from edge devices to servers and smartphones, security must be a priority.
A gargantuan task
For a long time now, important Linux drivers that constitute the kernel have been written in C, which is considered ‘not memory safe’. However, Rust is, as highlighted by Microsoft, which says that about 70% of all bug fixes it makes are memory-related.
Linux Kernel developers are exploring the possibilities of whether they can write new additions to the Kernel in Rust, rather than rewriting the entire Kernel, which contains over 30 million lines of code. Google made public its plans to back the project to put Rust in Linux in April.
It was an initiative led by a developer, Miguel Ojeda, who has shared a request for comment (RFC) about the project. Until now, Ojeda has been working on a contract with ISRG’s Prossimo project for memory safety, which was funded by Google. Now, the group has tapped his talents to work on the project full-time.
Dan Lorenc, a software engineer at Google who helped coordinate the project to bring Rust into Linux, says that Google has discovered after time and effort that to eliminate the memory security issues at scale will need this project to go through.