The Rust programming language finds a new home in a nonprofit foundation

Frederic Lardinois
·2-min read

Rust -- the programming language, not the survival game -- now has a new home: the Rust Foundation. AWS, Huawei, Google, Microsoft and Mozilla banded together to launch this new foundation today and put a two-year commitment to a million-dollar budget behind it. This budget will allow the project to "develop services, programs, and events that will support the Rust project maintainers in building the best possible Rust."

Rust started as a side project inside of Mozilla to develop an alternative to C/C++. Designed by Mozilla Research's Graydon Hore, with contributions from the likes of JavaScript creator Brendan Eich, Rust became the core language for some of the fundamental features of the Firefox browser and its Gecko engine, as well as Mozilla's Servo engine. Today, Rust is the most-loved language among developers. But with Mozilla's layoffs in recent months, many on the Rust team lost jobs and the future of the language became unclear without a main sponsor, though the project itself has thousands of contributors and a lot of corporate users, so the language itself wasn't going anywhere.

A large open-source project often needs some kind of guidance, which the new foundation will provide -- and it takes a legal entity to manage various aspects of the community, including the trademark, for example. The new Rust board will feature five board directors from the five founding members, as well as five directors from project leadership.

“Mozilla incubated Rust to build a better Firefox and contribute to a better Internet," writes Bobby Holley, Mozilla and Rust Foundation Board member, in a statement. "In its new home with the Rust Foundation, Rust will have the room to grow into its own success, while continuing to amplify some of the core values that Mozilla shares with the Rust community.”

All of the corporate sponsors have a vested interest in Rust and are using it to build (and rebuild) core aspects of some of their stacks. Google recently said that it will fund a Rust-based project that aims to make the Apache webserver safer, for example, while Microsoft recently formed a Rust team, too, and is using the language to rewrite some core Windows APIs. AWS recently launched Bottlerocket, a new Linux distribution for containers that, for example, features a build system that was largely written in Rust.