- Hosts Mark Rousskov, Secretary and Project Director, Core and Shane Miller, Chairwoman and Member Director, Amazon Web Services shared the latest updates and answered the community’s questions about the Rust Foundation in an interactive webinar. We celebrated the successes of our first year, shared our hopes for the future, and listened to your requests and feedback.
- Learn More
Transcript from the first Rust Foundation AMA with Shane Miller and Mark Rousskov, moderated by Sage Griffin.
November 16, 2021
Table of Contents
- Executive Director Announcement
- When is the community going to meet the ED?
- What is the role of the Rust Foundation as it relates to the Rust Project, short and long term?
- Can major coprorations insert themselves in governance?
- Has the Foundation changed the role of the Core team and Project?
- Do individual voices matter in the Foundation?
- Does the Foundation help funnel resources to the Project?
- Do some members of the Foundation have Cloud Resources available?
- Will the Foundation being sponsoring those working on the Project?
- Discuss the Crates.io oncall rotation.
- When will we be able to see the monthly meeting minutes?
- Are there any other specific places of interest for the Foundation to start allocating resources?
- Does the Foundation get involved when there are associated costs of something?
- Does the Foundation take stewardship of resources when it provides a service?
- Is the Foundation also providing legal resources to the Project?
- Is one of the missions of the Foundation to get Rust to be legally usable in critical environments, such as space and or health?
- Does the Foundation cover the costs of This Week in Rust?
- What is the benefit of having a Rust trademark?
- Was it complicated to get some trademarks?
- Any additional items to discuss?
- Will the AMA be recorded?
- How is the Foundation going to make sure that volunteers are supported other than just giving them more tools and more work?
- CEO of Rust and Pun Off
- Future AMA plans
Sage Griffin: Hello everybody. And welcome to the first of the Rust Foundation's Ask Me Anything sessions. My name is Sage Griffin. My pronouns are they/them and I will be moderating today's conversation. I'm joined today by two members of the Rust Foundation's board of directors, Shane Miller, the Chairwoman of the Rust Foundation, and a Senior Engineering Manager at AWS.
Shane Miller: Hi, thank you so much Sage for joining us as our moderator today, and thank you to everyone who is participating in this first of a series of Town Hall “Ask Me Anythings.” I'm super excited to have the conversation today. Thank you.
Sage: And we're also joined by Mark Rousskov the Secretary of the Rust Foundation and a member of the Core team.
Mark Rousskov: Hey, everyone, excited to share what we've been up to and get to answer all of your questions.
Sage: So before we get to those questions, I've been told that we have a major announcement to make.
Shane: Yes, we do. I am super excited to share with you, the participants in our town hall today, a public announcement that the Rust Foundation will be making tomorrow. The Rust Foundation will be announcing that Rebecca Rumbul has been appointed Executive Director and CEO of the Rust Foundation. Bec has a deep background leading nonprofits. She has worked across industry, academia, and governments. She's created organizations that have served communities. Most recently, Bec led the development and execution of the international strategy for a nonprofit called My Society, operating across 50 different countries. In that role she led research, communication, policy, events, and fundraising. Bec has the unique combination of skills and collaborative style that make her a perfect leader for the Rust Foundation. And I am super excited to welcome her as our new leader.
Sage: That's really awesome to hear. I remember seeing, I think it was back in July, that y'all announced you were starting your search and we haven't really heard anything since then. So can one of you give us a little bit of insight into what that process looked like.
Shane: Definitely. So, Mark and I were both on the (search) committee…it was composed of three project directors, including Mark, and two corporate directors, including myself. Mark, do you wanna talk a little bit about the journey that we went on as a committee?
Mark: Yeah, sure. So, the committee formed initially, and one of the first things we did is look at what our options were for finding an executive director. And we ended up looking at several companies that actually do this as a professional service to foundations like ours. And as part of that, we looked at what they do, and we ended up selecting the firm called Perrett Laver. The search firm started by interviewing both the Board and also members of the Project to figure out, what do we want? What is our goal with the executive director? And then based on that feedback, we ended up filling a large amount of applications, which the committee reviewed, and those were across the whole world. And I was really happy to see all of those excellent candidates. Shane, do you wanna talk a little bit about your experience?
Shane: Yeah. So, picking the executive search firm itself is something that is new to me and we had to start from a place of what things are important to us in terms of the dimensions of the search. And where we landed with Perrett Laver is, we were looking for an organization that was really clear about what the process would be, what their expectations of us would be. And also a firm that had worked with a startup before, because we were coming from a place of not being really clear and aligned on what the roles and responsibilities of our executive director was going to be. We needed someone to lead us through that process that had experienced successfully navigating that with a startup. And then the last thing, but definitely not the least, it was really important to us that we have an international search and Perrett Laver has extensive experience in recruiting internationally. And in fact, Bec is in the UK. So yeah, it was a series of processes. And at the end, we had a unanimous decision from the committee and then from the entire board, that Bec was the best candidate.
Sage: That's really awesome to hear. When is the community going to get to meet her?
Shane: That's a great question. So, Bec officially took the leadership role for the Rust Foundation yesterday. So it is day two for her. She we'll definitely be reaching out and starting to introduce herself to all of you very soon. And I feel confident that the next in the series, the next town hall Ask Me Anything, will be hosted by Bec.
Sage: Well, that's awesome to hear. I look forward to getting to see that. We've got a lot of questions coming in so let's hop over to a few of them. Actually, before we get into any of the specific questions, I've noticed, we've been getting a surprising number of technical questions, which my understanding was this isn't really the right forum for that. So maybe let's start by, can y'all talk about what you see (as) the role of the Rust Foundation as part of the greater Rust Project, both in the short and long term? Shane, let's hear from you first.
Shane: Sure. So, the mission of the Rust Foundation is to support the Rust Project and the maintainers. And the role I expect us to play in that is the creation of a platform that brings together the companies that are benefiting from the value of Rust to contribute to maintainers’ health and wealth, to system completeness and stability, and to the growth of the developer community. So, there are a lot of different things that the Foundation is going to need to do in order to make all that possible. But I think it starts from acknowledging that we are a platform that is connecting users with builders.
Sage: Mark, do you have anything you want to add to that?
Mark: Sure. I think one of the things we've both mentioned in past meetings, between Shane and I and others on the Board is that, I think this question is sort of fundamental to understanding why we're here and all that, but it's also a question that everyone has their own sort of slightly unique take on even on the Board of Directors. And if you ask members of the projects, I'm sure they'll also say, I want X thing over Y thing and they'll have their own take. One of the things that I'll add is that, as we look to the future of the Foundation, it's definitely not about setting the technical direction for the Project. So while it is a platform, as Shane says for bringing people together and enabling that collaboration, it's not about the Foundation making decisions itself on what the next feature should be, or whether the compiler is named one way or another. And that's for the Project to decide, where we have lots of technical people who are experts in making those decisions.
Sage: So if I'm a major corporation, I couldn't just buy a Foundation membership and then decide that Rust is getting a garbage collector?
Shane: No, no one in the foundation has the authority to insert themselves in the project governance.
Sage: All right, fair enough. Actually, speaking of project governance, I know one place I've seen some confusion in the community is whether the existence of the Foundation has changed the role of the Core team and the Project at all. Mark, since you are a member of both the Foundation Board and the Core team, I figure you might be able to clarify that a little bit for folks.
Mark: Sure. Yeah. So I think that that's a good question to ask. The Core team is still a team on the Project and while I am a director on the Foundation and Florian is as well, there's no other direct involvement there other than the connection that Core team has with all corporations and other entities in the community that want to interact with the projects where the Core team can help them connect and find the right relationships to build. Obviously, the Foundation is playing a closer role and the Core team is definitely involved in giving feedback on proposals, just like the project directors are, but there is no direct oversight in either direction.
Sage: All right. Well, that makes sense. All of this actually leads into a question that we've been asked by somebody who registered. “My interest in Rust is not the same as my employer, but only companies can be members of the Foundation. So how do I ensure that my voice matters?” Shane, do you wanna take that one?
Shane: The Rust Foundation is about supporting the Project and the maintainers. And the maintainers are building a product for the Rust users. So there's overlap between these things, they're complementary. (There are) so many connected arrows. The Foundation is funding the maintainers’ ability to do the Rust Survey, which is reaching out from the maintainers to the Rust users to find out what their priorities are. And I know Mark has been heavily involved in getting all of that organized. Mark, do you wanna talk a little bit more about what we're doing with the Rust Survey?
Mark: Sure. Yeah. So the Rust Survey is something the Project has run for several years now, and this year, the Project is still running it. And in fact, it's coming out in just the next couple of weeks, but the Foundation sees itself as supporting that effort. So the Foundation is not drafting the questions, it's not directly involved in sort of telling the Project what to ask, what not to ask, but rather providing the resources for the Project to be able to run that in a professional way that engages as broad an audience as possible. And so one of the things that we are constantly looking at is, how can we make sure that that relationship is collaborative, providing the resources the Project needs. And so going back to the question that was asked, if you're a Rust user and you're interested in providing feedback, in some sense, the Foundation is enabling new pathways to do that, but it's not really changing the core calculus of the (fact that the) Project is the one seeking that feedback. And every Rust user is more than welcome to join and contribute whether that's through patches, through just (commenting on GitHub) issues, or even just being involved in the ecosystem, which is very valuable work.
Sage: So do you think it's fair to say that when the Project finds itself needing resources, whether that's just money directly or some other form of resource that one of the Foundation's members is able to provide, the Foundation sort of exists to help funnel that?
Shane: Yeah, absolutely. And this has happened repeatedly already this year. So, one example is the press release that we put out this morning, where someone from the compiler team pointed out that there are contributors who would like to participate in contributing to the compiler, but were not able to do so in an equitable way, because they didn't have the compute resources to make it reasonable. (For instance,) being able to compile the compiler was taking an hour for a single build on their personal laptops. And so that Project maintainer approached the Rust Foundation and said, this is a place where I think you can make a difference. And we have worked across our membership to try to figure out a way to enable that. And I know, Mark, that you did a lot of the work with the infrastructure team to make sure that we had the right mechanisms in place to be able to support this. I don't know if you want to say more about that.
Mark: So I think it's worthwhile to point out that, as we are looking – we put out a press release this morning, and I'm really excited to see where this goes – but the rollout is definitely gradual and we're not quite ready to…you don't have your access details just yet.. but I think it's coming soon and I'm excited to see how big that program can go. And I think this is another example where the Project is interested in these resources and there's definitely a lot we can do from the Foundation side, but it's also where the Project can give a lot of guidance on what actually is useful and what dimensions, and that collaboration of seeing, okay, here's what the Foundation can offer. Here's what the Project needs. How can we map those together in order to enable people to be maximally happy when using these cloud build resources.
Sage: Makes sense. Seems like given the membership of the foundation, there might be some companies there that have a lot of cloud resources available.
Shane: It seemed like an easy ask. I mean, our goal with that was, and this I think is going to be a repeated theme, but to leverage the resources of our members without having to “out-of-pocket” from the Foundation budget. So instead of saying, “yes, we can pay for that,” what we said is, “we have members who can provide that as an in-kind contribution directly to the Foundation, to the Project and make that happen at no cost to the Rust Foundation.” And those three companies took up that offer and agreed to do that for us.
Sage: I mean, and that's really awesome to see, when there's options like that. I know as somebody (who) used to do open source full time and trying to fund that, I know I've been hoping, and I think a lot of other people have as well, that eventually the Foundation is going to start directly sponsoring folks who are working on the Rust Project. Is that something that ya'll see as an option at some point in the future?
Shane: It's not just something that we see as an option, it's something that we have spent extensive hours researching and trying to solve this year. We have experimented with some models. We are incentivizing having companies hire full-time Rust maintainers and contributors. And some of those folks are on my team at AWS. There are definitely other member companies at the Rust Foundation who have created and filled similar roles. But, what we know, what we're hearing from the community, is that that model does not work for everyone. And we're having to look at other ways that we can drive funding. And it's really hard. It's so hard. We're trying to come up with clear criteria that is fair and equitable. It needs to be transparent. It needs to be accessible to everyone. And we have to be careful that when we plant a seed that we're going to grow a tree that we can afford. And that's not just about being able to continue to fund the maintainers that we have today. That's thinking forward to, hey, we have explosive growth happening here. As the maintainer group grows, are we going to be able to grow this fund in a way that makes it accessible to future maintainers? It's been absolutely a frustration, I know for me, personally, and many other members of the Board, that we were not able to do more with that this year. One of the things I'm super excited about with Bec however, is that I have every confidence that she has the experience and skills to create a successful program that is going to work for the Rust Foundation. And it's going to provide some really cool options for our Project maintainers.
Sage: That's awesome to hear. I mean, I think if you ask anybody, who's tried to do any sort of open funding for an open source project, they'll tell you it's an extremely hard problem to solve. I wish Bec luck with that. I do not envy her having to work on solving this problem. Mark did you have anything you wanted to add?
Mark: I think I might throw in that, I think we definitely appreciate it, and this town hall and other future events like this are a way for people to give us that feedback. And as we explore these funding models, it will be crucial for people to say what works, what doesn't work. And, we will ask you as well, but the feedback given to us is also crucial to that understanding being built. So thank you.
Sage: So I did notice in the last month or two, though, you did have an instance where you were helping take some burden off of the contributors’ shoulders. It was one that I was very personally excited about. I saw that you all had taken over the Crates.io on-call rotation, which for those who aren't familiar with my background, I was one of the people who started the Crates.io team and I'm responsible for that on-call rotation existing and was on that rotation for many years. And it's not fun to be on call 24/7 as an unpaid volunteer. So I was very excited to see y'all take that off of the current team's plate. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Shane: So, I want Mark to talk about this because he was so heavily involved in it, but first I want to pause and say, thank you, Sage, for everything that you did for Crates and for the Project. The Rust programming language is definitely going to have a resounding impact, not just on IT, but on the sustainability and security of our industry and all of that founders’ commitment and sweat have made that possible. And we're tremendously grateful to be the beneficiaries of what you've done. And now I'll let, Mark answer your question, sorry.
Mark: Thank you, Sage. And I know after you stepped down, there was several other volunteers who were working also. Essentially, I think there was a half and half rotation for a good bit. And so, we definitely worked fairly quickly as the Foundation started up investing in, okay, how do we figure out where does this go? And I think this is another opportunity to look at how the Foundation looks at how do we select who does this work? How do we look at how we do that in a way that's fair to who we select but also fair to everyone in the community? And I think one particular thing to call out here is that, as we discussed in the press release, we chose Ferrous as the company and into that went a lot of decision-making, a lot of involvement, a lot of thinking, how do we make sure that we're not necessarily saying, okay you've been doing this for a year now, now we're gonna choose some company and just, sorry, you get nothing. So we went actually to, both the people who are on call and we asked, do you want to do this? And somewhat unsurprisingly, I think they said, actually, maybe not. And so we took that feedback into account and we actually did a lot of interviewing with both the Crates.io team and with people who were interested in signing up, so to speak, to get paid, to do this on call. And we ended up choosing Ferrous for a variety of reasons. But thinking about going forward, there's going to be other opportunities, with Crates.io but also with other Rust infrastructure where we see there was a clear need for someone to be doing this full time. It's either 'cause it's on-call, or it's something that sort of has a similar shape. And so, we will be able to continue developing those models, whether that's through direct sponsorship of individuals or companies, I think the Foundation is going to keep exploring what works best in each case.
Sage: I mean, it's great to hear that y'all gave them the option to continue doing it but be paid for it first because definitely the problem was that it was being done by unpaid volunteers. But it's not surprising to me that ultimately, they turned that down because that wasn't a problem that seemed like, oh yeah, you just throw money at it and automatically it gets better. That was just such a great move. I was very excited to hear about that, so thank you.
Mark: I guess one thing I should add is that one of the things that the Foundation going in cared about a lot is that the rotation used to be just two people, and even farther ago I think it was just you Sage. I've never been on-call, but I can only imagine having to be attached to, essentially a pager 24/7, and even with two people that’s still like you're almost attached 24/7. And so I think the current rotation, I don't remember the numbers off hand, but we definitely wanted to be able to (have) four people (and) grow that to the extent we can, so that there's less need for someone to constantly be attached week over week, over week, over week. Especially if that someone is also doing great work with either the Crates IO team or elsewhere in the Project. And, on-call time is maybe not the most productive use (of time).
Sage: Yeah, 'because when it's only two people, whenever you're not the primary on-call, you're still the backup on-call because there's nobody else. So, it definitely can be stressful to just be in some part of the rotation all the time and, I think it's safe to say that generally speaking, folks don't get into open source to join an on-call rotation.
Shane: It was interesting even talking to vendors about providing that on-call support because we heard a similar response from vendors that taking just on-call without taking ownership of the product was gonna be a hard sell to their own staff, even in exchange for a contract. So it is not something that any engineer is generally excited to do. And it is a unique vendor who is willing to take on the on-call responsibility and not take on the technical direction for the product, which was a requirement for this contract.
Sage: Well, I mean, I'm glad that it was a requirement that the team remain in charge of the Project 'cause that would be devastating to see that change.
Sage: So this has been asked a few times, and I'm not gone have a good way to pivot to non- awkwardly. So I'm just going to awkwardly pivot to it. Is there any news about getting a quicker turnaround on the release of the minutes from the monthly meetings?
Shane: Well, I think the update is we now have an executive director and CEO, so in the same way that the Project is been a mostly volunteer organization, the Rust Foundation Board of Directors is a volunteer organization. And it's not that we don't think that publishing the minutes is important, it's just that there are so many things that are important. And as we talk about getting contracts for on-call support and looking at different models for funding sponsorships and things like that, it's hard to determine on an hour-by-hour basis, is the right thing here to do something that's going to benefit the Project, or is the right thing to go through the process to get minutes approved and published? And I say all that as our poor secretary is here on the spot so Mark's position in the Project is as secretary, but holy moly, he's been doing so many other things this year that I'm looking forward to Bec and her staff, that I expect she will hire very soon, picking up some of these tasks and making us just a much more efficient organization.
Mark: And I guess I'll add to Shane's answer to note that, I think from a very simplistic perspective, we could just publish the minutes, but (one of) the considerations that I personally had is that the minutes are actually maybe not the best format. And I think we want to aim for more than just, “here's the document let's hope you understand it.” And so, one of the things that I'm hoping to work with Bec on is how do we make sure that (with) the Foundation’s business as a whole, not just the Board, (that) full transparency is ensured. And whether that is publishing the minutes, I'm sure that, maybe that's a component of the process, but it's not the full solution. And it may not even be necessarily part of the solution because having written the minutes, I can tell you that…without the context that Board members have for meetings and so forth, they may not be the most revealing content.
Sage: That's fair enough. I'm glad to hear that there'll be some hopefully quicker turnaround on some form of that information in the future. So we've talked a little bit about the ways that the Foundation has allocated resources recently. We've talked about one specific way that you could do it in the future. Are there any other specific places of interest for the Foundation to start allocating resources in the future that hasn't already happened?
Shane: That's a really good question. I think this is one of those places where probably every single member of the Board has a set of things that they wish could be funded. And, it goes back to you putting together the right program in order to manage those things and determining how we are going to prioritize. I think Bec is going to have a lot of opportunities to make huge improvements and exactly how she's going to do that…I'm hesitating to go in any particular direction because it feels like I'm sort of setting her up. Mark, do you wanna say more about anything specifically?
Mark: Yeah, I think I might add, this is less forward-looking and more backward looking, but one of the things that I think we still have questions about elsewhere, and maybe in the question queue here, is that as we've transitioned from the past Rust org to the Foundation Rust org, one of the things that has happened as part of that is moving the trademarks, the legal assets, but also all of the infrastructure onto the Foundation’s wallet. And that's pretty much done at this point, has been done for most of this year. And I dunno, Shane, maybe you wanna chime in on sort of some of the interesting things we've learned as that process has continued.
Shane: I mean, well, there's a couple of things. One is that it's probably no surprise to everyone that infrastructure costs are going up. The Project is growing and so our costs are getting bigger. And so, part of what we have been doing as a Board is trying to make sure that those costs are gonna be covered well into the future. And the other thing is that there are places where we saw opportunities for improvement, and trademark is one of them. When the Rust Foundation was created, the trademark for Rust was only registered in the United States. But as we all know, the Rust community is global. And in fact, when we looked there are active Rust communities in 21 other countries. So one of the things we did this year is to file trademark registrations in all 21 countries. And there's costs associated with that, there's also overhead in terms of just process and documents and responding to questions. But that is something that we've invested heavily in this year. And I think last week we were certified in Peru. So there are a lot of these sort of housekeeping things that happen. And we have individual contributors who reach out to us and say, hey, there's this piece of infrastructure that I have been using my personal credit card to pay for the Rust Project for five years and is this something that the Rust Foundation can take on? So a lot of things that we do are relatively small in terms of, you know, overall costs, but they're big to those individual contributors. It is a relief to that person who is no longer running a personal server or whatever the case may be, paying for a newsletter (for example). There are a lot of different things like that where the Rust Foundation has jumped in and taken over the costs, and the infrastructure management in some cases as well.
Sage: So is the reason that this is something that the Foundation specifically is getting involved in is because there are costs associated with it. 'Cause I do remember, for example, docs.rs was an example of this happening before the Foundation.
Shane: I think that people are reaching out to the Rust Foundation because there are costs associated with it. We have resources other than just straight money. We have expertise, lawyers, and certainly access to security specialists and things like that, that should a project member have a question or a need that just requires resources that they don't have, the Rust Foundation is a good place to start.
Sage: So Mark, maybe you can speak to this one. When the Foundation does agree to transfer resources of something that was on a personal server to something that the Foundation is providing, does the Foundation take stewardship of whatever that was or does that still remain within the Project in a sort of a “no strings attached” agreement between the Foundation and the Project, or is it somewhere in the middle?
Sage: Is the Foundation also providing legal resources to the Project? 'Cause I know Crates IO, for example, has to comply with DMCA and GDPR.
Mark: So I think that the best way to put this in some sense is that, you know, from a legal, purely legal perspective, the Foundation is paying for these services. And in some sense they are the Foundation’s. But from a technical direction perspective and from even a policy perspective, while the Foundation definitely has opinions and intends to advise and make sure that things are moving in the right direction, we also really care that the maintainers, both in the Project and the broader community, feel like they are being supported and (we’re) not some elephant walking into the room and just saying, here's how things are.
Sage: So here's one question I'm not sure that y'all can answer, but that came in. Is one of the missions of the Foundation to get Rust to be legally usable in critical environments, such as space and or health? I'm not sure if that... Is that a technical question or is that like a legal question?
Shane: It sounds like a product question and there's a fine line between, is it product direction or technical direction? 'Cause we have a really technical product. I would assert that that is outside the purview of the Rust Foundation. The Project decides the product direction and the technical implementation of that direction. And the Foundation supports it. If there were an opportunity for the Foundation to provide some type of resource to empower a group of people in the Project to make progress on that as an objective of their own, then that's a place where I think the Foundation could help. But I don't expect that the Foundation will set product direction. Mark, do you wanna say something else or different?
Mark: I think that's the right Shane. And I would add also that, for all of these somewhat murky questions, I think the Foundation’s general perspective is, if the Project wants something, let's figure out whether we can do it. And in general, the answer is “yes and,” rather than, “well, maybe not” for many of these questions. And I think as the Project evolves, we're definitely seeing interest across the board of, “I want my pet feature” and for some of those features, the Foundation can't really do much to help because it's just language design and implementation work or Crates.io work or whatever. But for the cases where the Foundation can help, whether that's your legal resources, or maybe it's some sort of targeted funding for servers or whatever, I think the Foundation is willing to provide that and explore how best to do that.
Sage: I didn't see this earlier, but somebody did mention that the Foundation's covering the hosting costs for this week in Rust now.
Shane: That's right. Yes. That's an example where there was a community member who reached out to the Foundation and said, "Hey, this feels like something you should be paying for." And we said, "Yes, it does." And so, yeah, absolutely. As, folks identify other things that they're out of pocketing that are project assets, you should take advantage of us.
Sage: While, we wait to see if we get any more questions, I would actually like to go back to the trademark for a minute because hearing that the Foundation expanded the trademark to 21 new countries, is interesting to me. Can you talk a little bit about what the benefit of that was and why specifically having it in countries that already had an active Rust community, it was the metric there?
Shane: The trademark protects use and making sure that the Project is protected where the Project lives, seems like the right approach. In a world where we have unlimited funds, I would say like, let's blanket the world with protections for the Project. But given that we do have finite funds, it seemed reasonable. And in fact (it) was the recommendation of our trademark attorney. This is one of those places where the Foundation leverages the expertise of people who work in this field to advise us. We are a fantastic group of volunteers who are passionate, but in the same way that the Project has gaps in terms of expertise and skills, we too have gaps in the things that we have expertise in, and trademark law is definitely not well-represented on the Project Board of Directors. And so one of the first things we did is to engage with a trademark attorney and say, “how do you recommend that we proceed here?” And that is the approach that she said would make the most sense. So yeah, we looked and literally did – in fact, the attorney did – a search of Rust meetups and different kinds of organizations worldwide to see where we have sort of concentrations of activity, and then created a list and a recommendation for us.
Sage: Are there any countries where that process ended up being like more interesting or more complicated than others?
Shane: We get into some interesting... So I guess the TLDR is not really, we get into some interesting conflicts because Rust is kind of a generic word. And as we all know, there's like a movie and other references, a video game. And so the same thing happens around trademark wherein a country responds with hey, this was rejected because there is another company that is, I don't know, providing actual Rust services, or I think there was an example that was like an architectural firm in a country that was using the name Rust. And then there's just a process of going through and making the case that these are not conflicting usages of the word Rust and that the two things can cohabitate. And yeah, it's bureaucracy and paperwork mostly. So that's not that interesting.
I'm trying to think if there's something else that we can share with you. One of the things that we haven't talked about is the growth in the membership. The Rust Foundation was created earlier this year at the beginning of this year, as a partnership between AWS, Google, Mozilla, Microsoft, and Huawei, and not long after we founded, Meta or formerly known as Facebook, joined as another platinum sponsor. And recently we announced our 15th silver member. So that brings our total membership up to 21 different companies. And silver membership, we're starting to see companies like Toyota Connected, ARM and Knoldus. And so we're really excited about the momentum and the resources that are going to make it possible for us to continue to realize our ambitions. And as the community comes up with new requests for funding from us, we'll be able to meet those. So that's been really exciting as well.
Sage: Awesome, to hear about that growth. I think we've covered all the questions. So was there anything else that either of you wanted to add before we wrap up?
Mark: So I guess to add to Shane's points on the membership, I think one other aspect that I'm at least looking forward to as a Project member is seeing, okay, we have all these members, how do we engage with them to get, we have obviously a bunch of them running through surveys and other sort of means, but how do we enable the maybe more technical, or maybe it's more direct relationship building. And I think there's a lot I've learned personally speaking to people outside of the Project and saying, “what are you using Rust for?” And then taking that back, whether it's into concrete decision making or just it's fun to see all the places Rust's getting used.
Shane: I have really enjoyed our membership spotlight series, as I think of the questions that the writers and reporters ask, and that my leadership asks at Amazon, like, “where should this be used?” “Where is it getting used?” ‘Where are we seeing success stories?” The membership spotlight is a great place to read about that because we are asking those same questions of our members who are obviously invested enough to invest in the Rust Foundation and are interested in supporting the Project and its maintainers. So there are so many more opportunities for us to provide platforms like this one, but also to get into more sort of user group discussions. So high fidelity conversations about what's happening with Rust. As we look at the trends with the Rust developer community, the latest statistics from SlashData show us at 1.1 million Rust developers worldwide, which makes us the fastest growing language over the last two years. So where in 2019, it might've been reasonable to assume that you know what what's going on with Rust users, I think there's been an explosion and we need to start to think about other opportunities to get visibility into what the users are doing. And again, that's not something that the Rust Foundation is going to drive, but we do have responsibility to the Project to provide a platform so that the Project can get that feedback from those users.
Sage: Awesome. We did get two more questions in while we were doing that and I wanna get to them before we wrap up. First one, I can actually answer. Somebody is asking if a recording is going to be available 'cause they arrived late. Yes, this is being recorded and it will be available, I assume, within the next day or two, I don't know that we gave an exact timeline.
Shane: That sounds reasonable. I don't have an exact timeline from our tech.
Sage: Yes, there will be a recording available. And then Mark, maybe you can speak to this last question. Providing contributors and maintainers with more tools to do their free work in a more efficient way is nice, but won't it just end up being more work for them and lead to more people burning out? How is the Foundation going to make sure that volunteers are supported other than just giving them more tools and more work?
Mark: So I can definitely speak to that. I guess I think this is to some extent in reference to our cloud builds project. And I think it's a consideration that we've definitely thought about, how do we make sure that the resources we're giving aren't just seen as a way of extracting more value or whatever. And I think the position I've had is that, as someone who contributes to the Rust compiler, I at least can say that I, to some extent, gain more, if I can say, “okay, I'll just allocate an hour a day and that's it.” And if I can do more work in that hour, I come away happier than sitting around waiting for minutes at a time, waiting for things to compile. Especially because, at least in my experience, I think everyone has their own work style and personality, but the more we can enable people to do that work, there's also the benefit of, if it's not just you doing it it's 10 of you or 10 people, but also enables people to pull back and say, "Okay, I'm going to maybe not try to wear 20 hats across the Project and let someone else step up who is enabled by the Foundation's contributions to these resources."
Sage: Did you have anything you wanted to add to that Shane?
Shane: Yeah. As I talk to my own engineers about compile time, it's not just the time spent waiting, it's the loss of context. And they express a lot of frustration and (during) the long wait times, they had gone off and the read something else and…they've completely lost their place. And so it creates a lot of additional cognitive load for the engineers. It just makes it harder to do the job effectively. And so the intent is never to extract more work out of anyone. The intent is to make it more joyful to do the work you wanna do.
Sage: And I mean, I think you could also argue that if folks are spending less time compiling, that doesn't necessarily mean they're going to use their additional time to do more work, they are volunteers. And I think you could argue, that this is just gonna enable them to do less work or at least spend less time doing the same amount of work.
Shane: Absolutely. Absolutely. However you want to spend your time saved not watching compiles, we support that. Absolutely. And all the things that we do, it is about responding to requests to improve the experience of being a maintainer. Again, trying to optimize the health and wealth of our Rust Project.
Mark: And I guess one thing I might add just to the tail end of that is that, as we look to both the cloud build resources and future resources, one of the things that I'm hopeful about is that, I think today I definitely have felt the pain of (having) someone come to the Project and say, "I'm having trouble building the project or whatever.” And there's like, nothing I can do. They're on a platform that I don't have access to, or they're on a platform that maybe I could get access to, but it requires jumping through hoops. And I think the Foundation is uniquely positioned to sort of pre-jump through those hoops for maintainers and say, “hey, when you have this kind of request from the community, here's your access details or whatever the detail is and you just have that access to that platform, that machine, whatever the tool is that you need to do that work most effectively.” And I think with all the tools that the Foundation supplies, they're sort of, they're opt-in, but we're not gonna tell you, you have to use these resources. And I absolutely believe that the Foundation wants to always enable people to do work, whether they're directly using the Foundation's resources or the much larger set of people who don't have direct access to the Foundation resources, but still should be able to contribute, still be able to engage with projects. And we definitely want to allow that to happen.
Sage: That makes a lot of sense. I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge that Jane, who's a friend of mine and another member of the Foundation Board, asked if we finally have a CEO of Rust. Yes. It's still me. I proclaimed it onstage at RustConf. If you wanna take that title from me, you must defeat me in a pun off live at RustConf. This is how it works. It's how it has always worked. I don't know why there's any confusion about this. So just to make sure that we're all clear on that, the CEO of the Rust Foundation is not the CEO of Rust.
Shane: That is exactly right, but I do wanna see a pun off. Can we please do that anyway?
Sage: I mean, if anyone wants to challenge me, I am so down.
Shane: I feel certain that I'm not qualified, but I'm definitely going to ping Bec later and ask her how her pun game is.
Sage: All right. Well, I think that is all we have time for. Do y'all wanna make any last quick remarks before we wrap this up?
Shane: Well, I would just say that I am so grateful to be a part of something that is so significant to our industry. There are very few opportunities that you get in a career. I've been doing this for almost 30 years now, and I have not had a lot of opportunities like this one. And the other part of this experience that has been just remarkable, is that as an engineering manager, you are constantly looking for engineers who are just passionate about the work that they do. And there is ridiculous passion in this project. And that is also well-represented on your Rust Foundation Board of Directors. And it has just been a fantastic experience getting to know everybody and understanding what your needs are and looking for ways to solve those. I want to thank everyone for attending today, and I really hope that we've given you something valuable here. Keep pinging us. Keep asking us for things. Keep telling us what you're frustrated about. And we will keep trying to do better for sure. This is an iterative process and we have not nailed it yet, but we are trying.
Sage: And the plan is to do these quarterly?
Shane: That is exactly right. Yes.
Sage: All right. Mark, did you have anything you wanted to say before we wrap up?
Mark: I also wanna thank everyone for all the questions today and going forward, I think both in future AMAs and in other venues, we'll definitely continue engaging and sharing from everyone. And I'm looking forward to answering, or to Bec answering.
Sage: Awesome. Well, thank you both so much for taking the time to do this today. Thank you to everybody who joined us and for all of your wonderful questions. If your question wasn't answered, I believe the plan is to get those answered on blog posts at some point, although I do think we got to everything. There will be a recording available. Keep an eye on foundation.rust-lang.org for that in the near future. With that, we'll see y'all later.
Shane: Thank you. Bye everybody.