Google sponsors Rust development in the Linux kernel for more memory security

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Rust for Linux is gaining shape: Google is now also committed to the project for memory security in the source code of the critical software infrastructure of the Internet. As a current blog entry by the leading Internet Security Research Group (ISRG) shows, Google has been funding a one-year full-time position to work on Rust for Linux since April 2021.

The contractor is the developer Miguel Ojeda, who had previously worked on a voluntary basis in addition to his main job for the Rust development for the Linux kernel. Thanks to the grant from Google, the Rust expert can now devote himself entirely to the Linux project for a year. He recently started an RFC (Request for Comments) for Rust development in the Linux kernel.

For Ojeda, the use of a second language besides C in the Linux kernel is beyond question, and Rust, according to him, offers numerous improvements, as he informed the ISRG. C is not memory-safe, security problems and weaknesses such as possible buffer overflow in the kernel previously written in C are considered to be a risk to the security of organizations, devices and personal data.

A Google employee from the software development department summed up his employer’s concern. The point is to eliminate security problems class by class – the Linux kernel is a key because of its distribution, and work on it requires a correspondingly long time, explained Dan Lorenc from Google to the ISRG. Google regards the promotion of Rust in the Linux kernel as an optimal investment.

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The ISRG project is now called Prossimo, and work on it began last year 2020. Details on Google’s contribution can be found refer to the current blog entry, Further information can be found, for example, in the Entries about the Apache HTTP server and to Rustls TLS Library.


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