Rust’s support for pattern matching on slices has grown steadily and incrementally without a lot of oversight. We have concern that Rust is doing too much here, and that the complexity is not worth it. This RFC proposes to feature gate multiple-element slice matches in the head and middle positions ([xs.., 0, 0] and [0, xs.., 0]).


Some general reasons and one specific: first, the implementation of Rust’s match machinery is notoriously complex, and not well-loved. Removing features is seen as a valid way to reduce complexity. Second, slice matching in particular, is difficult to implement, while also being of only moderate utility (there are many types of collections - slices just happen to be built into the language). Finally, the exhaustiveness check is not correct for slice patterns because of their complexity; it’s not known if it can be done correctly, nor whether it is worth the effort to do so.

Detailed design

The advanced_slice_patterns feature gate will be added. When the compiler encounters slice pattern matches in head or middle position it will emit a warning or error according to the current settings.


It removes two features that some people like.


Fixing the exhaustiveness check would allow the feature to remain.

Unresolved questions