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Ferrous Systems and AdaCore to join forces on Ferrocene

Published on 3 min read
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Ferrocene
A Rust compiler toolchain for safety- and mission-critical environments.
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    Ferrous Systems started in 2018 with the mission to help companies adopt Rust. This has led to many different activities: Ferrous Systems is augmenting teams around the world by providing training and other forms of advice, it develops software and firmware for microcontrollers and is experimenting with community funding, for tools such as rust-analyzer. In 2019, we started blogging about our thoughts to bring Rust into safety-critical environments. We received a lot of positive feedback and - with early partners on board - were able to start this project properly over summer last year. We’re happy to announce today that we’re forming a joint venture with one of those partners: AdaCore.

    Every good joint venture has an immediately visible benefit: Ferrous Systems has deep Rust experience, AdaCore has years of experience in procedures around qualification and certification around programming languages. This experience and guidance allows us to confidently track our target to bring Rust into ASIL-D level environments by the end of 2022. From our early talks to our current relationship, AdaCore impressed us as incredibly good advisors and engineers with a strong drive towards finishing. Along with expertise, AdaCore brings a lot of high-value tooling, such as code coverage tooling to integrate with and ship to our users - and more.

    During our investigations and interviews with potential partners, we spoke to a lot of organisations evaluating their future programming stack. In many of those evaluations, Ada is on the table. We see two reasons: Ada’s approach of structured, down to the detail and ultimately safe programming is a tradition that Rust puts itself in. The second is that Ada has things to bring to the table that Rust is not yet able to provide. Ferrous Systems has the core ethos of trusting our clients to make good engineering decisions. Our job is to help them make those decisions even better. We serve those organisations better by providing them with the freedom to choose, without compromise.

    Rust is successful through a lot of ambition. There’s trust and track record that even in the places where it isn’t quite there yet, it will eventually be. Ada is also an ambitious language: through careful maintenance and additions, it is currently the best language for highly safe development - particularly through the formally verifiable SPARK subset. Enabling a bridge between two ecosystems with such overlapping ideas brings a lot of value. Working with AdaCore allows us to close gaps very fast. Imagine a library being written and validated in SPARK being used in Rust code transparently. Beyond that, AdaCore brings a lot of experience and tools for ensuring the safety of C and C++ code, and code generators such as QGen.

    Together, we plan to invest into the future of safety critical programming, while also making its practices more and more accessible to a general audience. We'll have more news to share on Ferrocene in the coming months, and we look forward to bringing Rust to safety critical systems with our partners.

    AdaCore has released a corresponding statement.

    You can follow the progress on these efforts on the Ferrous Systems' Blog, by subscribing to our newsletter, or by contacting us directly.