Ask HN: What are some examples of elegant software?

This page summarizes the projects mentioned and recommended in the original post on

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  • unikraft

    Unikraft is an automated system for building specialized OSes known as unikernels. Unikraft can be configured to be POSIX-compliant. (Core repository)

    We put a lot of effort and consideration into the architecture of Unikraft[0][1], its elegance is the reason and simplicity is why I joined the team to help develop it.



  • nexus

    A Nim web framework with batteries included (by jfilby)

    Nim. It's just so quick and easy to write high performance code. That's why I'm writing a web framework for it, soon to be released:

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  • syncthing-android

    Wrapper of syncthing for Android.

  • frigate

    NVR with realtime local object detection for IP cameras

    Frigate NVR:

    Incredibly easy to host open source network video recorder with object tracking and hardware acceleration support. You have to install hardware and know what you're doing to hook things up, but bespoke systems that do these things cost tens of thousands for hardware/licensing alone and don't do them half as well.

  • Turbo Vision

    A modern port of Turbo Vision 2.0, the classical framework for text-based user interfaces. Now cross-platform and with Unicode support.

    It's been an absolute joy toying with TV after all this years for some TUI side-projects.

  • lila

    ♞ the forever free, adless and open source chess server ♞

  • vis

    A vi-like editor based on Plan 9's structural regular expressions (by martanne)

  • InfluxDB

    Collect and Analyze Billions of Data Points in Real Time. Manage all types of time series data in a single, purpose-built database. Run at any scale in any environment in the cloud, on-premises, or at the edge.

  • src

    Read-only git conversion of OpenBSD's official CVS src repository. Pull requests not accepted - send diffs to the tech@ mailing list.

    Regarding code elegance, OpenBSD[0] surely pride themselves in their code correctness and how they make it clean and understandable.

    Another example might be my favorite text editor, vis[1].


  • Stockfish

    A free and strong UCI chess engine

    Stockfish --

    Some of the best C++ code written.

  • NATS

    High-Performance server for, the cloud and edge native messaging system.

    I've been pleased by NATS ( I like how it builds its functionality on layers of abstractions, from the most basic (pub/sub), to request/response on top of that, to key/value and persistent streams on top of that. The CLI is simple to use and you can learn it in an afternoon, but it's robust enough to deploy.

  • ganja.js

    :triangular_ruler: Javascript Geometric Algebra Generator for Javascript, c++, c#, rust, python. (with operator overloading and algebraic literals) -

  • GraphvizOnline

    Let's Graphviz it online

    So much this. Also I use this tool to sketch out graphs quickly:

  • pytudes

    Python programs, usually short, of considerable difficulty, to perfect particular skills.

  • Altair

    Declarative statistical visualization library for Python

  • @blueprintjs/core

    A React-based UI toolkit for the web

    I figured I'd get some downvotes mentioning PLTR here. ;-)

    GPalantir is definitely being more open with their demo now, so there are some good ones on their youtube channel.

    You can skim through.

    I'm impressed by how polished everything looks. As a person who does UX / product design, their working software looks better than most designer's portfolio mockups.

    I'm impressed by how fast and snappy everything works or feels.

    I'm impressed by how rich and custom tailored their UI component library is.

    I'm impressed by how focused and tailored their UI for job at hand.

    I'm impressed by how every single page in their application looks beautiful, not just a handful.

    They actually have all their React UI library published as opensource here.

    If there's anyone from pltr reading this, good job. Your design people are amazing.

  • trio

    Trio – a friendly Python library for async concurrency and I/O

  • mobile

    [Moved to] Standard Notes for iOS and Android - (by standardnotes)

    Man, I've looked at Standard Notes and want to love it and switch everything over to it. This is the only thing holding me back:

  • TiddlyWiki

    A self-contained JavaScript wiki for the browser, Node.js, AWS Lambda etc.

  • Sequel

    Sequel: The Database Toolkit for Ruby

    Sequel [1], the Ruby ORM. It's rock-solid, provides similar abstractions to Active Record but feels much better thought out, and it has great docs.

    Also, at any point in time, it's likely to have zero open issues and zero open pull requests, which is pretty impressive for a project of its size.


  • diff-zoo

    Differentiation for Hackers

    This is an obscure one, but Mike Innes "[automatic] differentiation for hackers" tutorial. It's a code tutorial, not software, if that counts. Both the way it's constructed and the functionality of Julia that gets shown off here.

  • Boost.Asio

    Asio C++ Library

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NOTE: The number of mentions on this list indicates mentions on common posts plus user suggested alternatives. Hence, a higher number means a more popular project.

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