The Inevitable March to Rust Continues with Chrome

Posted on Friday, Jan 20, 2023 by Ned Bellavance

Featured in this episode of Chaos Lever

Metal-based jokes notwithstanding, 2023 will truly be the year of Rust, as Dana Jansens from the Chrome security team has announced that 3rd party Rust libraries will be supported by project Chromium with the long-term goal of bringing Rust directly into Chrome proper.

Rust offers several advantages over C++, the language currently used by Chrome and Chromium, including memory safe guarantees and simpler debugging. Google’s software engineering team has done the hard work of adding a production Rust toolchain to their build process, but one cannot simply smoosh Rust and C++ together and expect good things to happen. Instead, they are wading in cautiously, restricting Rust components to third-party libraries that can only interact with the C++ code via APIs. This prevents possible memory safe flaws in the C++ code from leaking over to the Rust side of the house. C++ code on the other hand, will be able to call Rust directly through a number of tools like cxx and bindgen.

With the Linux kernel adopting Rust based code, Mark Russinovich publicly eschewing C++ for Rust, and now the prominent and popular Chromium project adopting Rust, it certainly seems as though the language is ascendant. Yet another project pioneered by the good folks at Mozilla, who never seem to get the love they deserve.

And no, I’m still not paying for the Firefox VPN.