Rust Community Prioritizes Performance Over New Features

In a recent survey on the state of the Rust programming language conducted among developers, a preference emerged to refrain from adding new features to the language, at least in the near term. Participants expressed concern over Rust’s already significant complexity, which could escalate with further innovations.

The survey, orchestrated by the Rust team for the eighth time since the language’s inception, garnered insights from nearly 12,000 developers. Respondents prioritized tasks for the Rust team’s attention, with compiler error resolution (67.9%) leading the list, followed by runtime performance enhancement (57.45%), and a general acceleration of compilation time (44.68%). Only 28.92% of participants deemed new language features a priority.


A considerable focus was placed on the potential complication of Rust, seen by 43% of developers as a primary threat to the language’s future. Other significant concerns included underutilization (42.5%) and insufficient support for developers and maintainers of Rust (32.1%).

Despite these apprehensions, developer satisfaction with Rust’s capabilities remains high, with over 84% of respondents agreeing that Rust code generally contains far fewer errors than code written in other languages. The main reasons for choosing Rust are its ability to facilitate the creation of error-free (85.8%) and high-performance (83.3%) software.

Interestingly, 70% of developers find programming in Rust enjoyable or even fun, though this figure has slightly decreased from the previous year (72.6%).

The survey also indicates that Rust is still in the early stages of adoption in real-world workflows. Only 33.9% of respondents can use Rust extensively in their work tasks. Meanwhile, the proportion of those not using it at all in real work has decreased from 43.2% to 38%, suggesting the language is growing in popularity, yet there is still room for further expansion.

Regarding operating systems, Linux remains the most popular among Rust developers (69.7%), followed by macOS (33.5%) and then Windows (31.9%). There’s also an increase in the use of Linux as the target platform for deploying Rust applications—from 79.9% to 85.4%, with Windows rising from 37.8% to 43%.

Visual Studio Code continues to dominate as the development environment of choice for Rust (61.7%), but JetBrains’ new RustRover, released in September 2023, has already attracted 16.4% of developers.

The Rust team promises to improve the phrasing of questions in future surveys, acknowledging some confusion in the current one. However, the future direction of the language is clear: the creators’ efforts to fix errors are valued by developers far more than the addition of new features, suggesting that dramatic new functions or changes to Rust are unlikely in the coming years.