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FSF Giving Guide: Tech changes, freedom doesn't

by Greg Farough Contributions Published on Nov 22, 2023 12:15 PM
This year's FSF Giving Guide is here: Make freedom your gift!

When we're all gathered around for the holiday season, it will be hard to avoid hearing about proprietary software, and, for those in the know, that means reminders about how much proprietary software has encroached upon our rights in the last year. It'll be all over the ads we see on television or on our phones, but we can at least hope that one place where we'll see our freedoms being respected is in the gifts we give one another. We in the free software movement have the opportunity to send a message with what we choose to buy our loved ones. And if you prefer not to buy something for your loved ones, then free software and DRM-free media give you the freedoms you need to share software and media, create a special media and/or software collection, and even repurpose a piece of older technology for a one-of-a-kind, new-to-them present for the people we care about. Plus, you're sure to cut down on e-waste in the process!

This is the fourteenth year the Free Software Foundation (FSF) has published its Ethical Tech Giving Guide as a way to help out with that endeavor. Throughout the years we've been doing the Guide, we'll admit that little has changed in our recommendations. Due to a general lack of newer hardware that supports free software, you'll be seeing some of the same tireless machines crop up in our recommendations. This goes to show both ourselves and our readers that freedom is a constant, not to mention more valuable than the latest tech that's smart enough to recognize your face with its four (or more!) cameras, but not smart enough not to spy on you.

No matter how you celebrate this year, we hope that the holidays will prove a fruitful time for you to educate the people you care about on the importance of free software. If you're that special hacker-enthusiast who's in a position to help out development communities working to free their hardware, this year's version of the Guide also includes a few devices that need some special attention before we can recommend them.

And, hey, it isn't just freedom that we're advocating. Knowledge is power, too! In addition to an updated round of DRM-free music recommendations, this year's Guide points out where you can get DRM-free, and even gratis copies of good literature. Companies like those we recommend in the Guide are few and far between, so we hope that you'll lend them your support.

No matter if or how you'll be buying gifts this year, always keep in mind that retaining your freedom is the greatest gift of all.

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