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Date: Fri, 13 Oct 2023 21:11:04 -0700
From: Boqun Feng <>
To: FUJITA Tomonori <>
Subject: Re: [PATCH net-next v3 1/3] rust: core abstractions for network PHY

On Fri, Oct 13, 2023 at 06:53:48PM +0900, FUJITA Tomonori wrote:
> On Fri, 13 Oct 2023 07:56:07 +0000
> Benno Lossin <> wrote:
> >> btw, what's the purpose of using Rust in linux kernel? Creating sound
> >> Rust abstractions? Making linux kernel more reliable, or something
> >> else?  For me, making linux kernel more reliable is the whole
> >> point. Thus I still can't understand the slogan that Rust abstractions
> >> can't trust subsystems.
> > 
> > For me it is making the Linux kernel more reliable. The Rust abstractions
> > are just a tool for that goal: we offload the difficult task of handling
> > the C <-> Rust interactions and other `unsafe` features into those
> > abstractions. Then driver authors do not need to concern themselves with
> > that and can freely write drivers in safe Rust. Since there will be a lot
> > more drivers than abstractions, this will pay off in the end, since we will
> > have a lot less `unsafe` code than safe code.
> > 
> > Concentrating the difficult/`unsafe` code in the abstractions make it
> > easier to review (compared to `unsafe` code in every driver) and easier to
> > maintain, if we find a soundness issue, we only have to fix it in the
> > abstractions.
> Agreed.

Right, so the soundness of the Rust abstraction is the tool for more
reliable kernel. And honestly I haven't found anything that "sound Rust
abstracions" and "more reliable kernel" conflict with either other. If
we provide unsound Rust API, what's the point of using Rust? You can
always provide unsound API rather easily with C or put it in another
way, you can always rely on various implementation details to prove that
nothing is wrong (e.g. "this function is only called under situation A,
B or C, so it's fine"), but these details lost track easily as time
goes. With sound API, hopefully, we can put these details in the type
system and the unsafe requirements, so that these can be helpful (and
compiler can be helpful).

Of course, kernel is compliciated, and I'm pretty there are things that
sound Rust API cannot express (or at least easily). In that case, if
necessary and possible, we should improve the tool, rather than bend the
rules of API soundness, because, as Greg said, there is no deadline
here, we don't need hurry.


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