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Rust enforces proper acquisition and releasing of resources, and that is very cool. For that it uses linear types, which is beyond what ML's type system can achieve. It allows rust to manage memory safely with no GC. The type system can show the compiler when to release resources. I think that can be done in C++ and maybe Haskell but Rust has it baked in.

Think about all the low level resource management: network ports, files, heap memory... That's what rust does better.

Check ATS for a ML-inspired language with some resource semantics closer to rust and stronger control and correctness primitives. http://www.ats-lang.org




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