What is Rust / Who owns Rust?

After some worrying posts about some parts of the Rust teams (which I don't want to recite, comment on, or otherwise discuss in this thread, as I can't verify/assess them), I figured that I'm using Rust without even knowing what is Rust or who owns Rust.

I know this issue is sensitive and could lead to difficult discussions, but nonetheless this is a relevant issue for me, because I'm currently in the process of trying to get Rust more involved in projects I'm working on.

As part of my "dependency management", I marked this topic as "help", because that's what I'm seeking out with this post. I do not want to discuss any Rust team internals.

I wouldn't ask in this forum if I got a clear answer just by visiting the websites, but I'm actually confused. There is the Rust Foundation, but who actually owns the trademark, for example? The website refers me to something like the "Rust Team", but is that a corporate body? Is Mozilla still holding any stakes? I'd like to get some clarity on this as www.rust-lang.org doesn't give me the information I need (or maybe I'm just looking at the wrong places).

(Side note: I had a similar issue when trying to figure out who actually operates crates.io. The package policies refer to "Mozilla Legal", so I guess it's a Mozilla thing?)

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Rust is a programming language, originally developed by some folks at Mozilla more than a decade ago.
As with most open-source, Rust being "owned" by someone is not something one needs to worry about. if you don't like the way things are going, fork it and make it your own. Of course, you can't use the name "Rust" in that case ...


This post has some answers

Mozilla, the original home of the Rust project, has transferred all trademark and infrastructure assets, including the crates.io package registry, to the Rust Foundation. We’re filled with gratitude for Mozilla whose thoughtful incubation of the project from its inception as a research project in 2010, to establishing independent governance with the 1.0 release in 2015, has led us to this moment, as we set out as a fully independent organization. Without their support, we wouldn’t find ourselves in the position we do today.

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You put my thoughts into words.

Agreed, but I'm sure that it was clear I wasn't asking for that :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:.

While I do agree that a project being open-source makes me worry less about who owns the code or trademark (edit: or who has write access to the repositories or decides about who has), I think that there is more about a project than the mere code. There's also infrastructure, the community, human resources, funding, etc.

When I have a dependency that is very small, which I could actually fork myself, then I wouldn't worry. With a huge project like Rust, this seems to be not that trival. (Not wanting to imply I even want to fork Rust or that I'm unhappy with it.)

Thanks a lot! I think I'd then answer the question myself with "Rust" (as a trademark and "infrastructure assets") being owned by the Rust Foundation. Maybe it would be a good idea if that was more clear on the homepage (both rust-lang.org and crates.io)? Or is there a reason why this isn't or shouldn't be done?

Disregarding trivial matters like trademarks and whatnot, it's a collaborative work of hundreds/thousands of people and is not owned by anyone. It's open source software. It's a bit like saying who owns the Sun. Nobody!

I would say that these matters do matter, especially in times when there are disagreements on decisions being made. Of course, forking is possible, but there's more about Rust than the mere code, as I tried to elaborate in my previous response in this topic.

Well, I'd optimistically say that the amazing ideas behind Rust aren't owned by anyone (but I'm not a lawyer :innocent:).

These trivial matters are exactly how a hostile actor was able to successfully take over - and effectively destroy, in a very short timeframe - the Freenode project, and that's just the most recent in a long, intermittent trail of organizations misunderstanding the importance of legal recognition. It would not be wise to dismiss them like this, and I think OP's questions regarding Rust are prudent.

The Rust Foundation owns the marks and intellectual property for Rust the language, but substantial parts of the Rust technical ecosystem belong to various community members. The tokio authors are not accountable to the Rust Foundation, for example, and could take their ball and go home at any time. Tokio's current license structure does a lot to ensure that others can pick their work up and continue, but it doesn't guarantee that anyone actually will.

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