Microsoft has explained why it’s pursuing ‘safe systems programming’ through efforts like its experimental Rust-inspired Project Verona language and its exploration of the Rust programming language for Windows code written in C++. From a report: The short answer is that Microsoft is trying to eliminate memory-related bugs in software written in languages like C++, according to Microsoft Rust expert Ryan Levick. These bugs cost a lot to fix and make up a large share of Patch Tuesday hassles. Levick has now offered more insights into Microsoft’s efforts behind safe systems programming. Systems programming includes coding for platforms like Windows, Xbox, and Azure, as opposed to programming applications that run on them.
Key systems programming languages include C++, Google-backed Go, and Mozilla-created Rust, but Rust and Go are ‘memory-safe’ languages while C++ is not. Other languages are memory safe, such as Swift and Kotlin, but they aren’t for systems programming. The thing for Microsoft is that it writes a lot of its platform software in C++ and sometimes still in C. While it works hard to address memory issues, the company says it has “reached a wall”. “We can’t really do much more than we already have. It’s becoming harder and harder and more and more costly to address these issues over time,” says Levick, who joined Microsoft via its acquisition of Wanderlist, which has become Microsoft To Do. He gave a rundown of Microsoft’s safe systems programming efforts in a session at Build 2020 this week.
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