Coming about over the past two years has been uutils as a re-implementation of GNU Coreutils written within the Rust programming language. This Rust-based version of cp, mv, and other core utilities is reaching closer to parity with the widely-used GNU upstream and becoming capable of taking on more real-world uses.

Debian developer Sylvestre Ledru began working on Uutils during the COVID-19 pandemic and presented last week at FOSDEM 2023 on his Coreutils replacement effort.

With uutils growing into increasingly good shape, it’s been packaged up by many Linux distributions and is also used now by “a famous social network via the Yocto project.” During Sylvestre Ledru’s presentation he characterized the motivation for this project and its Rust usage due to security, portability, being able to leverage existing Rust crates, and the great performance potential. The popularity of the Rust programming language also helps out.

Sylvestre Ledru FOSDEM 23 presentation slide

The goals with uutils are to try to create a drop-in replacement for GNU Coreutils, strive for good cross-platform support, and easy testing. Ledru’s initial goals were about being able to boot Debian, running the most popular packages, building key open-source software, and all-around it’s been panning out to be a great success.

The performance of uutils is already in great shape relative to uutils while more performance optimizations are to come along with other work for compatibility against the GNU tools and implementing some still missing options in different programs.

Ledru ended his FOSDEM 2023 presentation with some predictions for 2024 that include, “We will start to see cloud provider proposing images with Rust core components. We will see more and more piece of the core infrastructure of Linux improved with Rust.

Those wishing to learn more about this Rust-written Coreutils replacement can see the FOSDEM presentation video embedded below along with this slide deck. The code continues to be worked on via GitHub.

Read More