Rust Foundation appoints Rebecca Rumbul as executive director

The Rust Foundation spun out from Mozilla is continuing to mature by naming its first executive director and CEO, Dr. Rebecca Rumbul.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Today, the Rust Foundation, an independent non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the Rust language, announced Dr. Rebecca Rumbul would be the new organization's first Executive Director and CEO. 

Rust began at Mozilla as a safer alternative to C and C++ for system programming since its 1.0 release in 2015. Open source Rust is a general-purpose programming language for building reliable, secure, and efficient software. Rust can run anywhere in your software stack, from your operating system kernel to your next web app. 

Since then, Rust has quickly become one of the most favored languages for system development. For example, Microsoft is using Rust to rewrite some Windows components that were written in C and C+, and some Linux drivers are now being written in Rust.  In addition, the Internet Security Research Group (ISRG) Prossimo project is seeking to secure fundamental internet programs and protocols by rewriting them in Rust.

In short, Rust is becoming increasingly important, so it needs strong leadership. Rumbul will lead the new non-profit as it pushes forward with an ambitious agenda to support Rust language maintainers. She comes to the Rust Foundation with deep expertise in international non-profit management and as a leading global advocate for digital democracy and information rights. Rumbul most recently served as Director of Research and Engagement at mySociety. She worked to bring transparency to governance and parliamentary systems within governments, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and commercial enterprises. 

"The Rust Foundation has built a strong, strategic base in our first year, and Rebecca Rumbul is ideally suited to lead the organization as we build on this with more programs and initiatives to connect and support the work of the Rust Project," said Rust Foundation Chair Shane Miller. Miller, who is also a Senior Engineering Manager at Amazon Web Services (AWS), added, "Bec combines deep, relevant experience with passion, as well as a warm, collaborative style that makes her a great fit, as we seek to match the needs of the Rust community with the resources of Rust Foundation members."

"Rebecca brings deep leadership experience in non-profit and digital governance," said Bobby Holley, who chaired the Executive Director Search Committee, and who is also a member of the Rust Foundation Board of Directors and a Mozilla Distinguished Engineer. "She's a smart, collaborative leader with the vision and grit to build out the Rust Foundation and deliver the impact we're here to make."

"The Rust community is doing important, inspiring work with the Rust programming language, and I am excited to be part of a collaboration that will have a significant impact on the world," said Rumbul. "Rust's core features position it to be globally impactful, including supporting the advancement of security and sustainability initiatives. It's an honor to be a part of that, and I look forward to joining this transformative community."

Indeed, even as Rumbul takes over the Rust Foundation's reins, AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud are all offering high-powered cloud compute resources to Rust developers. 

That's important because committing code to the Rust Project is a multi-step process where one change request often takes as long as an hour to complete. For example, simply compiling the Rust compiler on a 4-core CPU  takes up to 15 minutes, with another 5-10 minutes for tests. However, a 96-core cloud virtual machine can complete the same build in less than five minutes, with tests completed in 35 seconds.

Now, with the Rust Foundation Cloud Compute Program, maintainers will have cloud access compute around the world to build and test code, enabling them to be more efficient in their development of Rust. Miller explained, "Giving all maintainers access to powerful cloud compute will mean that developers are spending their time on code, not waiting for builds. This can save the Rust compiler team thousands of hours every month." 

Joel Marcey, Member Director at the Rust Foundation and Staff Developer Advocate at Meta (formerly Facebook), added, "It is my hope that providing these free cloud-based computing resources will be just one of many Foundation initiatives that enable a new level of efficiency, productivity, and happiness for those working on the Rust core."

With new, strong leadership and support from some of technology's biggest cloud providers, Rust is well-positioned to continue its rise as one of today's most important languages.

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