Trait object type mismatch

Hi all, I am trying to build a Option of a boxed trait object based on an enum, however I can't manage to get rid of the move error or the only can get a reference of the trait object:

let emitter_dest = match &config.diagnostic_output {
            DiagnosticOutput::Default => None,
            DiagnosticOutput::Raw(dest) => Some(*dest.clone()),

The diagnosticoutput is a type in rustc, when the enum is Raw variant it contains a Box<dyn Write + Send>, I will need to cast it to None (Default), or Some(Box<dyn Write + Send>), how can I do that? The code I posted get this error:

DiagnosticOutput::Raw(dest) => Some(*dest.clone()),
   |                                                 ^^^^^^^^^^^^^ move occurs because value has type `std::boxed::Box<dyn std::io::Write + std::marker::Send>`, which does not implement the `Copy` trait

If I do:

let emitter_dest = match &config.diagnostic_output {
            DiagnosticOutput::Default => None,
            DiagnosticOutput::Raw(dest) => Some(dest.clone()),

I got this error:

   |             ^^^^^^^^^^^^ expected struct `std::boxed::Box`, found reference
   = note: expected enum `Option<std::boxed::Box<(dyn std::io::Write + std::marker::Send + 'static)>>`
              found enum `Option<&std::boxed::Box<dyn std::io::Write + std::marker::Send>>`

Maybe you should also give us more information about how/where emitter_dest is used. If that's a struct or a function expecting Option<Box<dyn Write + Send>>, so in particular an owned value, this means that you would need to move that Box out of the config.diagnostic field. Since that does (as you describe) already contain a trait object, you cannot just clone it. Your call to clone is basically doing nothing here, just copying a shared/immutable reference (“&T”). Now do you want to consume config here? What's the context?

A more complete presentation of the relevant code would help us help you. In case you do want to preserve config (not take ownership over its diagnostic_output field), then its just impossible to get an owned Option<Box<dyn Write + Send>> out of it that's passed to wherever emitter_dest is passed to and you need to change some struct definitions or function signatures involved.

Yes I do want to preserve the config, moreover, the context of my code example is the config method overwrite of compiler callback:

impl rustc_driver::Callbacks for ProjectCompilerCallbacks {
fn config(&mut self, config: &mut Config) {
        // println!("config error format: {:?} \n", config.opts.error_format);
        let mut emitter_dest = match &config.diagnostic_output {
            DiagnosticOutput::Default => None,
            DiagnosticOutput::Raw(dest) => Some(*dest),

        config.parse_sess_created = Some(emitter::replace_emitter(

Where I only have a reference to the config, but I need to use the Option<Box<dyn Write + Send>> to create my own emitter just like this function:

fn default_emitter(
    sopts: &Options, 
    registry: Registry, 
    source_map: Lrc<SourceMap>, 
    emitter_dest: Option<Box<dyn Write + Send>>
) -> Box<dyn Emitter + Send>

Is there a way to move the box out of the diagnostic_output field given that the field doesn't impl Clone too? I am not sure that field is going to be used directly anyway so maybe I can move that data out and create emitter with it.

I see. I'm not familiar with these compiler libraries myself, but judging by the types involved, it might be a viable option to duplicate the dyn Write trait object by creating two handles that will merge into the original writer. Maybe using an Arc<Mutex<Box<dyn Write + Send>> with a wrapper that implements Write? Maybe add LineWriter to possibly reduce locking overhead and to avoid too much of a mess if two things want to write at the same time?

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If you want to "steal" the contents of the field, that's possible. E. g. using mem::replace. You must leave something in place of the thing you took, in this case probably the ::Default variant of the enum? It does modify the config though. I don't know what effect that could/would have in your setting.

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Nice, I will try both advice that you suggest, thank you so much!!

In case you try it, this approach involves mem::replace as well in order to gain ownership of the Box<dyn Write + Send>, just that afterwards, you put back one of the two writers you’ve created in order to keep the config “intact”.

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