System Programming in Rust: Beyond Safety

Abhiram Balasubramanian, Marek S. Baranowski, Anton Burtsev, Aurojit Panda, Zvonimir Rakamari, Leonid Ryzhyk

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Rust is a new system programming language that offers a practical and safe alternative to C. Rust is unique in that it enforces safety without runtime overhead, most importantly, without the overhead of garbage collection. While zero-cost safety is remarkable on its own, we argue that the superpowers of Rust go beyond safety. In particular, Rust's linear type system enables capabilities that cannot be implemented efficiently in traditional languages, both safe and unsafe, and that dramatically improve security and reliability of system software. We show three examples of such capabilities: zero-copy software fault isolation, efficient static information flow analysis, and automatic checkpointing. While these capabilities have been in the spotlight of systems research for a long time, their practical use is hindered by high cost and complexity. We argue that with the adoption of Rust these mechanisms will become commoditized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHotOS 2017 - Proceedings of the 16th Workshop on Hot Topics in Operating Systems
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781450350686
StatePublished - May 7 2017
Event16th Workshop on Hot Topics in Operating Systems, HotOS 2017 - Whistler, Canada
Duration: May 7 2017May 10 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Workshop on Hot Topics in Operating Systems - HOTOS
VolumePart F129307


Other16th Workshop on Hot Topics in Operating Systems, HotOS 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science


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