How Rust Nation ‘23 changed my POV on the Rust community

A retrospective of Rust Nation '23

February 20, 20234 min read

About Rust Nation '23

Between the 16th and the 17th of February 2023, at the Brewery in London took place the Rust Nation ’23 conference, which is the first UK conference dedicated to the Rust language. Long the two days took place three level workshops and talks about the Rust programming language with several important guests, such as Nell Shamrell-Harrington, Rebecca Rumbul, Tobie Morgan Hitchcock, Jon Gjengset and many others.

An opportunity I couldn't miss

Feel free to skip this chapter, it’s my very introspective experience about conferences

Time for a confession: I’ve never been to a conference before. Even if I’ve been an active software developer for over 6 years, I’ve never been to a conference before. When I was employed in my previous company, we didn’t have any training budget and in my region, there aren’t interesting conferences, after joining Prima I’ve been guaranteed a training budget, but there was another issue, or two:

  • the first one was covid of course, which means no conferences for one year
  • the second one is a lack of interest. My bad of course, but I found many conferences that popped up in my feed, which is kinda lame. Most of them were for beginners or looked a lot “amateur”. Nothing wrong with going there, but it’s just not for me, you know.

But finally, in December, I found out about Rust Nation ’23, which would have taken place in February in London.

The conference looked super interesting and made for everyone, no matter whether you’ve never worked with Rust before or you’re the author of the Rust language. I had to attend this.

An inspiring opening talk

The opening talk was held by Nell Shamrell-Harrington and was about the meaning of being a Rustacean. Personally, I’ve never been the kind of person who likes giving himself a title nor I’ve never felt the need of belonging, to anything. I would define myself as rootless. So, when the talk started talking about the meaning of being a Rustacean, I thought that would have been one of that “company-like” talks about the sense of belonging to a company, that probably nobody feels.

But actually, I was surprised in finding this talk inspiring and made me finally understand what makes Rust special.

A few days ago a colleague asked me “why Rust?” and actually I didn’t know what to answer, I mean don’t misunderstand me, we all can repeat the mantra

It's memory efficient, it's fast, it's safe

But are these things that we really make us preferring a programming language? Well, certainly these are things we (should) keep in mind, but I’d hardly say that is what makes me love Rust.

So for a long time, I thought it was just a taste. Why do you like omelettes or pancakes, or the blue colour? Nobody knows, it’s a taste. For me, it was the same with Rust.

As Nell stated during her talk, what makes Rust special is its community. I’ve learned many different programming languages during my career, but none of them has a community as strong as Rust’s community. I’ve noticed how the open-source community is much more active than other’s languages, and how effectively there is more contributing (even if still not enough).

Nevertheless, the Rust community is probably one of the most active in writing articles and blog posts around the language and its members are always proactive in sharing their knowledge and helping others to improve their skills with the language.

When I was there at the conference, listening to these words from Nell, I finally found out the reason I love Rust. All these things are just true for me and are what makes me happy in coding Rust. I’ve tried several languages, but no other had me so tied.


I haven’t covered in this article all the other talks, which trust: me are totally worthy to watch on the Rust Nation website. I just wanted to share my thoughts on how this conference has inspired me and how made me finally understand why Rust is so special to me.

If you still don’t use Rust and find these values something you’d like to feel when being part of a programming language community, you should definitely give Rust a try.

A special thanks to Nell Shamrell-Harrington for her speech, to all the other speakers and to the people who attended Rust Nation ’23 to make me realise what makes Rust special.