Understanding Rust Error E0204: Copy Trait Implementation

Introduction to Rust Error E0204

In Rust, Error E0204 occurs when the Copy trait is implemented on a type with a field that doesn't implement the Copy trait. To resolve this issue, you need to understand the context under which the Copy trait works and its limitations.

Error E0204: Code Example

fn main() {
struct Foo {
    foo: Vec<u32>,

impl Copy for Foo { } // error!

In the given code example, the Copy trait is implemented for Foo, which contains a Vec<u32> field. Although Vec<u32> does not have the Copy trait, and hence, implementing the Copy trait for Foo results in the E0204 error.

Understanding the Copy Trait in Rust

The Copy trait in Rust serves as an indicator for types that can be copied bit-by-bit to create a new instance, without invalidating the original value. By default, only primitive types implement the Copy trait. If a struct contains only primitive types, it can safely implement the Copy trait.

When dealing with non-primitive types, the Copy trait will not be available by default. Rust requires a clear ownership model and strict borrowing rules to prevent data races and ensure memory safety. For types that own their data, it's unsafe and not allowed to implement Copy.

Another Rust Error E0204 Example

fn main() {
#[derive(Copy)] // error!
struct Foo<'a> {
    ty: &'a mut bool,

In this example, the code tries to derive the Copy trait for Foo struct that contains a mutable reference to a bool. The Copy trait cannot be implemented for Foo, as mutable references do not implement the Copy trait, even if the underlying data type (in this case, bool) is Copy.

Resolving Rust Error E0204

To resolve Rust Error E0204, you need to either modify the struct to include only fields with the Copy trait, or avoid implementing the Copy trait for the struct, using Clone trait instead when necessary. The Clone trait provides explicit cloning control, allowing more flexibility and customization.