In 2018, the Linkerd project made a big, risky bet by choosing Rust — at the time, a new and unknown programming language — to implement the next generation of Linkerd proxies. Since then, the bet has paid off, with Linkerd reaping rewards in security, reliability, and performance, and by 2023, Rust has become increasingly popular in the cloud native ecosystem. It’s easy to see why: Rust’s compile-time memory safety prevents entire classes of CVEs, without sacrificing performance or productivity. In this talk, Linkerd maintainer Eliza Weisman reflects on the project’s five years of experience with Rust in Kubernetes — how the project has benefited, how things have changed, and what we’ve learnt. In addition, Eliza will look at Rust adoption throughout the cloud native ecosystem, including CNCF projects like TiKV, kube-rs, OpenTelemetry and gRPC. Looking back at the last five years of Rust in Kubernetes, attendees will learn how their projects can benefit from adopting Rust, too.