Identifying Barriers to Adoption for Rust through Online Discourse

Authors Anna Zeng, Will Crichton

Thumbnail PDF


  • Filesize: 246 kB
  • 6 pages

Document Identifiers

Author Details

Anna Zeng
  • Stanford University, USA
Will Crichton
  • Stanford University, USA

Cite AsGet BibTex

Anna Zeng and Will Crichton. Identifying Barriers to Adoption for Rust through Online Discourse. In 9th Workshop on Evaluation and Usability of Programming Languages and Tools (PLATEAU 2018). Open Access Series in Informatics (OASIcs), Volume 67, pp. 5:1-5:6, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2019)


Rust is a low-level programming language known for its unique approach to memory-safe systems programming and for its steep learning curve. To understand what makes Rust difficult to adopt, we surveyed the top Reddit and Hacker News posts and comments about Rust; from these online discussions, we identified three hypotheses about Rust's barriers to adoption. We found that certain key features, idioms, and integration patterns were not easily accessible to new users.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Human-centered computing → Human computer interaction (HCI)
  • rust
  • programming language usability


  • Access Statistics
  • Total Accesses (updated on a weekly basis)
    PDF Downloads


  1. The Rust Programming Language. URL:
  2. Maria Christakis and Christian Bird. What developers want and need from program analysis: an empirical study. In Automated Software Engineering (ASE), 2016 31st IEEE/ACM International Conference on, pages 332-343. IEEE, 2016. Google Scholar
  3. Michael de Lang. Why I'm dropping Rust, September 2016. URL:
  4. Harold Garfinkel. Studies in ethnomethodology. Prentice-Hall, 1967. Google Scholar
  5. Kotsya. Rust: Not So Great for Codec Implementing, July 2017. URL:
  6. Manishearth. Rust severely disappoints me. Reddit, January 2017. URL:
  7. David Martin, Benjamin V Hanrahan, Jacki O'Neill, and Neha Gupta. Being a turker. In Proceedings of the 17th ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work &social computing, pages 224-235. ACM, 2014. Google Scholar
  8. Federico Mena-Quintero. Rust things I miss in C, February 2018. URL:
  9. Leo A Meyerovich and Ariel S Rabkin. Empirical analysis of programming language adoption. ACM SIGPLAN Notices, 48(10):1-18, 2013. Google Scholar
  10. Baishakhi Ray, Daryl Posnett, Vladimir Filkov, and Premkumar Devanbu. A large scale study of programming languages and code quality in github. In Proceedings of the 22nd ACM SIGSOFT International Symposium on Foundations of Software Engineering, pages 155-165. ACM, 2014. Google Scholar
  11. Greg Stoddard. Popularity and quality in social news aggregators: A study of reddit and hacker news. In Proceedings of the 24th international conference on world wide web, pages 815-818. ACM, 2015. Google Scholar
  12. The Rust Core Team. Rust’s 2018 roadmap, March 2018. URL:
  13. Jonathan Turner. Rust 2017 Survey Results, September 2017. URL:
  14. Anna Zeng, Will Crichton, and Niko Matsakis. Interview with Niko Matsakis, May 2018. Google Scholar
  15. Anna Zeng and Josh Matthews. Interview with Josh Matthews, May 2018. Google Scholar