The rust I wanted had no future
Graydon Hoare writes a long piece about the features in rust he wishes had turned out differently, and lays out why he's glad/thinks everyone should be glad that he's actually not the BDFL of rust.
I think the post is interesting for a couple of reasons, even though I don't use rust:
- I really like his general, calm, attitude
- I like thinking about all the different parameters in the design space that weren't chosen, even if I don't entirely understand rust it gives me a better sense for how large the design space of programming languages is. It's huge!
- he wants types similar to zig's comptime types (links this piece which I haven't read)
- wishes for a simple grammar and tail calls
- I appreciate his humility
The point is to indicate thematic divergence. The priorities I had while working on the language are broadly not the revealed priorities of the community that's developed around the language in the years since, or even that were being-revealed in the years during. I would have traded performance and expressivity away for simplicity -- both end-user cognitive load and implementation simplicity in the compiler -- and by doing so I would have taken the language in a direction broadly opposed to where a lot of people wanted it to go.
...If I'd stayed in charge (or even asserted a more robust sense of "being in charge" when I was nominally moreso) the result would have been, I think, fairly unpopular. The Rust I Wanted probably had no future, or at least not one anywhere near as good as The Rust We Got. The fact that there was any path that achieved the level of success the language has seen so far is frankly miraculous. Don't jinx it by imagining I would have done any better!