Microsoft Azure CTO Wants to Replace C and C++ With Rust

Programming languages — especially C and C++ — have remained largely unchanged since their development, in part because of their relative reliability. However, Microsoft Azure CTO Mark Russinovich (and some other experts) are ready to move on from the old, faithful, general-purpose programming languages (GPLs). In a September 2022 Twitter post, the executive called for engineers to ditch C and C++ in favor of Rust, primarily for the sake of security and reliability.

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Russinovich’s remarks have raised eyebrows, in part because several core Microsoft products, such as Windows and Office, are written with C or C++. Previously, in 2019, the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) called Rust the best alternative to these languages, noting that 70% of memory safety and other security issues could be avoided with it.

Many business applications are written in high-level languages like JavaScript, Java, Python, and C#, which are all more secure than C and C++. On the other hand, Rust is designed for systems programming and boasts memory safety features based on compiler-enforced ownership of values. However, Rust remains one of the least-used programming languages; if Russinovich has his way, it would leapfrog C and C++ to become the dominant GPL, but that future is still far off.