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Operating Systems: Rust Redox – An Next-Generation Attempt to Plug Linux OS Gaps

By Dick Weisinger

Rust is a language developed by Mozilla to help developers be more productive in writing all sorts of software.  Even the software for operating systems which normally tends to be written in languages like C or assembly for optimized performance.

A group of developers have decided to try to use Rust to build a ‘next-generation’ operating system.  Linux is the model, but the goal is to rethink and re-implement to improve the existing capabilities of Linux.

Redox Os is MIT-licensed open source.  And it is small, coming in at just 26MB out of the box.  The goal was to build a microkernel that shipped with the bare minimum of capabilities but which could be expanded, as needed, depending on the requirements of a project.

The Redox documentation says that “…we will not replicate the mistakes made by others. This is probably the most important tenet of Redox. In the past, bad design choices were made by Linux, Unix, BSD, HURD, and so on. We all make mistakes, that’s no secret, but there is no reason to repeat others’ mistakes.”

An interesting abstraction in Redox is the idea that everything is like a URL.  This is a change from Linux’s idea that every item is a file.  It simplifies how handlers are registered and provides more consistency.



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