Love for Rust at re:Invent

by Rebecca Rumbul, Executive Director and CEO, Rust Foundation

As I settle into the ED & CEO role here at the Rust Foundation, one of my priorities is to meet as many Rust stakeholders as possible, which includes (but is of course not limited to) Community and Project members, Corporate members, our peers in the Open Source space, and potential adopters and new entrants to Rust. I do this because I need to build up a comprehensive picture of the many different interests and needs we are committed to support and champion as the Rust Foundation.

Meeting people face to face and having thoughtful and organic conversations is a valuable way to get real insight, however our Rust community is spread across the globe, which makes face to face meetings slightly more challenging. Large conferences/conventions have the advantage of gathering groups of Rust enthusiasts in one place, and so from time to time, to take advantage of this, I will be attending these events to connect with our different constituencies. These events also provide useful opportunities to promote Rust, to excite people about the new opportunities and efficiencies of the Rust language, and to grow our community and resources.

Last week, AWS hosted its annual re:Invent conference, a truly mammoth gathering, which brought together many Rustaceans and which also provided a platform for Rust engineers to talk publicly about how safe, high performance, and sustainable Rust is.

Our Chair, Shane Miller, along with Rust grandee and Tokio author Carl Lerche, kicked off the week with a game-changing talk on Rust for sustainability. When I say ‘game-changing’ I’m not referring to our Rust corner of the open source world, I’m talking about a game-changer for our entire global digital infrastructure. Shane and Carl demonstrated how much more energy efficient Rust is compared to every other language, with Rust emerging as approximately 50% more energy efficient than Java, and a whopping 98% more efficient than Python. Only C was comparable in terms of efficiency, and, let’s face it, no amount of energy efficiency is going to make that attractive to build in, when you consider how much more in terms of memory and concurrency safety you get with Rust.

I realize that people don’t get into engineering or development for a love of environmental issues, and that energy efficiency in and of itself might not feel terribly exciting, but our digital infrastructure uses 1% of global energy, which is huge, and global data center use is only going to grow. Use of Rust can therefore make a significant contribution to reducing energy usage and the climate-related impacts that go with it. This will form part of the narrative of Rust going forward, and it adds yet another attractive reason for individuals and corporations to choose and invest in Rust.

Rust as a high performance, sustainable, and secure language was namechecked in a number of different sessions at re:Invent. As Amazon CTO Werner Vogels said in his keynote, “I've seen an enormous interest in Rust especially also when it comes to issues of sustainability, making use of the most sustainable programming languages out there." It was great to see how much love for Rust is out there, and AWS is clearly committed to the use of Rust and to investing in the community and Project through its support of the Rust Foundation. Rust engineers attending also gave me great insight into their roles and experiences of being part of the community, and these insights will help me serve you all better. I should particularly thank Rust wizards Carl Lerche, Felix Klock and Jon Gjengset for not facepalming every time I asked a daft question, which I did with disappointing regularity.

If you were unable to catch the talks virtually last week, we will share them via the usual social media channels once they become publicly available.

This was a great opportunity to promote Rust and the Foundation, to get new and exciting narratives about Rust out into the world, and for me personally to learn about how Rust is being used. I look forward to attending similar events held in the coming months, and hope to see some of you there!

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