Google joins the Rust Foundation

Droidstacean: Rust mascot Ferris, with Android mascot color/aspects
Droidstacean by Ivan Lozano, based on a design by Karen Rustad Tölva.
Rust is a systems programming language that combines low-level control over performance with modern language features and a focus on memory safety. Memory safety has been an enduring challenge for software developers, particularly those working on systems programs. Google has begun using Rust in settings where memory safety and performance are key considerations, including in key Android systems.

The Rust Core Team recently completed its work to build a new home for Rust: The Rust Foundation. Building on Google’s longstanding investments in C/C++ and the compilers and toolchains, we are delighted to announce our membership in the Rust Foundation. We look forward to participating more in the Rust community, in particular working across the industry on key issues including interoperability with C++, coordinating security reviews and decreasing the costs of crate updates, and continuing to grow our investments in existing Rust projects.

Memory safety security defects frequently threaten device safety, especially for applications and operating systems. For example, on Android, we’ve found that more than half of the security vulnerabilities we addressed in 2019 resulted from memory safety bugs. And this is despite significant efforts from Google and other contributors to the Android Open Source Project to either invest in or invent a variety of technologies, including AddressSanitizer, improved memory allocators, and numerous fuzzers and other code checking tools. Rust has proven effective at providing an additional layer of protection beyond even these tools in many other settings, including browsers, games, and even key libraries. We are excited to expand both our usage of Rust at Google and our contributions to the Rust Foundation and Rust ecosystem.

Today, some examples of projects where Google is either already using Rust or contributing to the Rust ecosystem include:

  • Operating system modules in Android, including bluetooth and Keystore 2.0
  • Low-level projects, such as the crosvm virtual machine monitor and drivers (alternative to QEMU) used in ChromeOS
  • Contributing to open source projects that we use and use Rust, such as the Mercurial source code control system
  • Firmware for FIDO security key support

And, there are many additional projects that are evaluating the use of Rust for new libraries or products. Some examples include:

We are also excited to support key Rust projects and their maintainers, such as:

  • Adding Rust code to curl
  • Working with ISRG to add a Rust TLS module to the Apache HTTP Server Project

We can’t wait to work across the industry to contribute to and support existing projects and libraries as well as help build out key areas such as C++ interoperability and security review.

By Lars Bergstrom, Director of Engineering, Android Platform Programming Languages

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