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The Dark Arts of Advanced and Unsafe Rust Programming


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The Rustonomicon

The Dark Arts of Advanced and Unsafe Rust Programming

Nicknamed "the Nomicon."

NOTE: This is a draft document, and may contain serious errors

Instead of the programs I had hoped for, there came only a shuddering blackness and ineffable loneliness; and I saw at last a fearful truth which no one had ever dared to breathe before — the unwhisperable secret of secrets — The fact that this language of stone and stridor is not a sentient perpetuation of Rust as London is of Old London and Paris of Old Paris, but that it is in fact quite unsafe, its sprawling body imperfectly embalmed and infested with queer animate things which have nothing to do with it as it was in compilation.

This book digs into all the awful details that are necessary to understand in order to write correct Unsafe Rust programs. Due to the nature of this problem, it may lead to unleashing untold horrors that shatter your psyche into a billion infinitesimal fragments of despair.


Building the Nomicon requires mdBook. To get it:

cargo install mdbook

mdbook usage

To build the Nomicon use the build sub-command:

mdbook build

The output will be placed in the book subdirectory. To check it out, open the index.html file in your web browser. You can pass the --open flag to mdbook build and it'll open the index page in your default browser (if the process is successful) just like with cargo doc --open:

mdbook build --open

There is also a test sub-command to test all code samples contained in the book:

mdbook test


We use the linkcheck tool to find broken links. To run it locally:

curl -sSLo
sh --all nomicon


Given that the Nomicon is still in a draft state, we'd love your help! Please feel free to open issues about anything, and send in PRs for things you'd like to fix or change. If your change is large, please open an issue first, so we can make sure that it's something we'd accept before you go through the work of getting a PR together.