Internally, rustc may take advantage of parallelism. rustc will coordinate with the build system calling it if a GNU Make jobserver is passed in the MAKEFLAGS environment variable. Other flags may have an effect as well, such as CARGO_MAKEFLAGS. If a jobserver is not passed, then rustc will choose the number of jobs to use.

Starting with Rust 1.76.0, rustc will warn if a jobserver appears to be available but is not accessible, e.g.:

$ echo 'fn main() {}' | MAKEFLAGS=--jobserver-auth=3,4 rustc -
warning: failed to connect to jobserver from environment variable `MAKEFLAGS="--jobserver-auth=3,4"`: cannot open file descriptor 3 from the jobserver environment variable value: Bad file descriptor (os error 9)
  = note: the build environment is likely misconfigured

Integration with build systems

The following subsections contain recommendations on how to integrate rustc with build systems so that the jobserver is handled appropriately.

GNU Make

When calling rustc from GNU Make, it is recommended that all rustc invocations are marked as recursive in the Makefile (by prefixing the command line with the + indicator), so that GNU Make enables the jobserver for them. For instance:

	+@echo 'fn main() {}' | rustc -

In particular, GNU Make 4.3 (a widely used version as of 2024) passes a simple pipe jobserver in MAKEFLAGS even when it was not made available for the child process, which in turn means rustc will warn about it. For instance, if the + indicator is removed from the example above and GNU Make is called with e.g. make -j2, then the aforementioned warning will trigger.

For calls to rustc inside $(shell ...) inside a recursive Make, one can disable the jobserver manually by clearing the MAKEFLAGS variable, e.g.:

S := $(shell MAKEFLAGS= rustc --print sysroot)

	@$(MAKE) y

	@echo $(S)


CMake 3.28 supports the JOB_SERVER_AWARE option in its add_custom_target command, e.g.:

cmake_minimum_required(VERSION 3.28)
    COMMAND echo 'fn main() {}' | rustc -

For earlier versions, when using CMake with the Makefile generator, one workaround is to have $(MAKE) somewhere in the command so that GNU Make treats it as a recursive Make call, e.g.:

cmake_minimum_required(VERSION 3.22)
    COMMAND DUMMY_VARIABLE=$(MAKE) echo 'fn main() {}' | rustc -