Culture / Development

This Week in Programming: Rust ‘Takes Ownership’ with Rust Foundation

22 Aug 2020 6:00am, by

While it might have, at one point, seemed like tech companies might go untouched by the effects of the COVID pandemic — or at least maintain the status quo — Mozilla came out earlier this month to say that “economic conditions resulting from the global pandemic have significantly impacted our revenue” and that it would be restructuring the Mozilla Corporation, which included laying off 250 employees.

Among those employees were a number of active members of the Rust project, originally created as a Mozilla Research project in 2010, and so this week Rust announced that it would be starting a foundation — something the core developers actually been actively considering since earlier this year and that was put on a more immediate timeline with Mozilla’s restructuring.

While Rust had already been acting as an organization independent since its 1.0 launch in 2015, Mozilla still acted as “a prominent and consistent financial and legal sponsor,” but now, the Rust team writes, “we’ve reached a point where it’s difficult to operate without a legal name, address, and bank account. ‘How does the Rust project sign a contract?’ has become a question we can no longer put off.”

The foundation’s immediate tasks will be to take ownership of “the various trademarks and domain names associated with Rust, Cargo, and crates.io” with the goal of being up and running by the end of the year. As for the implications of the foundation, Rust Core Team member Steve Klabnik commented in a Hacker News thread on the topic that the current focus is primarily on trademarks.

“Part of why we’ve been discussing this so long and not made moves yet is that there are a lot of things that a foundation could do, like hiring devs. But we’re unsure what we would want to commit to it doing. Hiring devs has some big advantages, but also a lot of disadvantages too. For now, we’re focusing purely on the trademark ownership part, as a sort of MVP,” writes Klabnik.

And while much of the response to the move appears on its face to be positive, Apache co-founder Jim Jagielski tweeted his concerns that the act of running a foundation would overwhelm the Rust team, something echoed in the Hacker News comments.

On this point, Klabnik generally agreed that it would be an added stress, though not one not faced by others, writing that “time spent managing a foundation’s business takes time away from managing the project itself, at least in the beginning, where there is significant overlap. Basically, bootstrapping is always a hard problem.”

This Week in Programming

  • Kotlin 1.4 Aims for Quality & Performance: JetBrains has released Kotlin 1.4.0, writing that this time around they “put a lot of energy and effort into improving the performance and quality of Kotlin and its tooling,” including “the long-awaited SAM conversions for Kotlin interfaces.” If blog posts and release notes aren’t enough for you, then the Kotlin 1.4 Online Event, spanning October 12 to 16, should satisfy your needs, with four days of virtual Kotlin talks, Q&As with the Kotlin team, and more — which you can register for here. And if you have questions you want answered, you can ask on Twitter using the #kotlin14ask hashtag, or submit them beforehand using this form. As for the language itself, the latest version addressed “more than 60 performance issues, including many that were causing IDE freezes or memory leaks.” Other improvements include code highlighting that is up to four times as fast, a new Coroutine Debugger and a Kotlin Project Wizard, and more than 40 new quick-fixes. They write that they’re also working on a new compiler — one that will “unify all the platforms that Kotlin supports, and provide an API for compiler extensions” — and that the team has begun work on an “integration with the new experimental Kotlin compiler frontend that will make the IDE a lot faster.”
  • TypeScript 4.0 Arrives with “No Major Breaking Changes”: Just a little over a month since the beta, TypeScript 4.0 has been released, bringing with it a number of changes, though no “major” breaking ones, and a brief history of where the statically typed JavaScript subset since the release of 3.0. On that point of no big changes, the team writes that “In fact, if you’re new to the language, now is the best time to start using it. The community is already here and growing.” Some changes that did arrive are an improved user experience, enhanced performance and scalability, and an expansion of the entry-level experience, among others.
  • Learn to Code Visual Studio Code Extensions: Extensions are a big part of Visual Studio Code’s popularity, but writing an extension can be difficult. Of course, Microsoft has a vested interest in getting you creating more extensions for its popular IDE, so it’s starting up a series of how-to live videos on both YouTube and Twitch with Mads Kristensen, who’s penned 130 extensions over the past decade. The show will be every Friday afternoon and will look at fixing bugs, exploring new APIs, building tools for extenders, and more. If you have a topic you want covered, hit them up on Twitter.
  • Google’s second “Season of Docs” Kicks Off: As an open source maintainer, you have enough on your plate with fixing bugs, adding features, and writing code, the last thing you likely want to spend your time doing is writing documentation, right? You’re too late for this year, but perhaps next year you can be one of the chosen projects, paired with a technical writer, to get documentation written as part of Google’s Season of Docs. This week, Google announced the 2020 technical writing projects, chosen from more than 500 writers and 800 projects that, starting this week will begin the process of familiarizing themselves with each other, before starting the process of writing the documentation starting on Sept. 14, 2020.

  • Amazon EKS Fargate Users Now Get EFS Support: Despite the acronym jambalaya (EKS, ECS, EFS, CSI — they go on) that comprises this announcement, the news is simple enough — if you’re using AWS Fargate to run serverless containers with Amazon’s managed Kubernetes service (EKS), then you’re going to now be able to use its Elastic File System (EFS) for data persistence and stateful workloads. The new feature is available for newly created EKS clusters with Kubernetes version 1.17, with support for additional Kubernetes versions on EKS in the coming weeks. Check out the latest documentation for more details.
  • GitHub Highlights Open Source with ReadME Project: Finally this week, another project that works to highlight the experiences of open source maintainers and contributors has launched, this time with GitHub introducing the ReadME Project. The project will be (and already is) a series of profiles of both projects and maintainers, starting off with Henry Zhu, Samson Goddy, Sonia John, Ovilia Zhang, and Dirk Lemstra, and they are taking nominations.

Feature image by Myriam Zilles from Pixabay.

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