When picking a gift this year, we urge you to think carefully about the choice you're making. Is that smart assistant smart enough to respect your friend or family member's rights? Does that tablet really have their best interest in mind? Or does that shiny gadget come at a cost much higher than its price tag?
When we allow proprietary software created by Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Google, and countless other companies to handle our basic computing tasks, we put an enormous amount of power in their hands, power which they freely exploit. It's only through using free software, and devices running free software, that we can seize this power back.
Letting your loved ones know that you respect their privacy and freedom too much to cave in for the newest Apple or Google device is a great gift in itself, and one that you can feel good about.
Your fight for freedom doesn't have to end at home. Use this printable version of the guide to spread the word.
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Why it's cool: Although it won't be released until Q2 2020, this phone is one to keep an eye on. We're giving it a tentative recommendation because the company has publicly committed to doing the right things for prioritizing user freedom and privacy, and because we have evaluated and endorsed the operating system it will run.
Considering that many people around the world use a mobile phone as their only Internet-enabled device, it's important to have confidence that your mobile phone isn't "listening in" on you to make more money for advertisers.
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Why it's cool: Your smartphone is so much more than a phone: it's a tiny computer you carry with you every day. Choosing one of these phones lets you bring software freedom everywhere you go. You can run your favorite apps and send all the text messages you want, while still running free software.
Why it's cool: The X200 is one of the few home user devices that's able to run fully free software from top to bottom. Starting with an attractive user interface and extending through the microcode (or "BIOS") at the heart of the system, this laptop is powered by software that takes your freedom and privacy seriously.
While it may be a little vintage, what it lacks in speed it makes up for in utmost respect to user freedom. It's so good that it's the laptop that's most frequently used in the FSF office!
Why it's cool: The Vikings D8 is a robust desktop computer that can be scaled up or down according to your needs, and which is capable of doing everything from simple Web browsing and video playback to intense code compilation.
You can order the Vikings D8 installed with the preferred Trisquel distribution of GNU/Linux, a fully free operating system that removes the user-hostile binary-only blobs lurking in the drivers of many common network and graphics cards, or, if you prefer, you can order the D8 installed with any other free distribution of GNU/Linux.
Why it's cool: A gift for your most security-conscious friend! As opposed to software solutions which by nature have limited randomness (or "entropy"), this USB device is an endless wellspring of truly random numbers, which aids in password generation and encryption.
Why it's cool: Trying to get closer to 100% free but stuck with a proprietary Wi-Fi card? Just plug this into your USB port and you're ready to go.
Why it's cool: A beefier (though bulkier) version of the wireless card that powers ThinkPenguin's mini Wi-Fi adapter. Surf the Web from afar with its long-range antenna that can pivot in any direction.
Despite the efforts of companies like Spotify, we can still dance to music in the free world. Thanks to the artists, producers, record labels, and shops highlighted on on our Guide to DRM-free Living, the rights-respecting options are nearly endless. Check out music from great labels and artists, including:
Apple Music is no better, and places heavy restrictions on the music streamed through the platform.
This year has brought us some disturbing "advances" from streaming services like Netflix and Disney+. Both companies have mandated the use of a treacherous computing scheme called Widevine, giving them the power to choose what you can and cannot do on your own device.
Widevine prohibits these services from running on many older devices, as well as most computers running GNU/Linux, leaving families who can't afford a new computer or a new television out in the cold.
Try these video services and sites instead:
Visit the Guide to DRM-free Living for more suggestions on how to stay a film lover and keep your freedom at the same time.
Netflix is continuing its disturbing trend of making onerous DRM the norm for streaming media.
They're also leveraging their newfound place in the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to advocate for tighter restrictions on users, and were responsible for embedding DRM into the fabric of the Web.
In this section of our guide, we've highlighted some of the types of devices where there just isn't a choice on the market that actually respects your freedom. We hope you'll take this list as inspiration for the free software projects you contribute to and support.
The Nintendo Switch is a popular holiday gift, but few realize that Nintendo has utter control over the platform and offers little insight into how it really works -- or how it might be spying on you and your family. Not much has changed since our advice to brick them before they bricked the Nintendo DS.
The Giving Guide is brought to you by the Free Software Foundation. Our associate membership program is the heart of the FSF's work campaigning for computer user freedom worldwide. We've been fighting for digital freedoms since 1985, and have no plans of stopping. Will you make your voice heard by joining today?
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