Don't give your loved ones gifts that stand in the way of their freedom

The headlines are filled with stories of "Big Tech" abuses, using the tight control they have over their devices and platforms to keep us powerless and dependent on them. There's no time at which this is more evident than in the holiday season, when they marshal all of the advertising at their disposal to sell us things that we don't need -- and worse, products that don't respect our basic freedoms.

This year, choose freedom

This year, we advise you to end that cycle of forced obsolescence and user exploitation, and opt to try running free software on a device you already own. If you're unlucky enough to get a gift that doesn't respect your freedom, you can still help others avoid it by documenting its ethical pitfalls.

Let your loved ones know that you respect their freedom and privacy too much to cave for the newest Apple, Amazon, or Google device, and give them the one gift that keeps on giving: freedom.

Tell your friends

Use the hashtag #UserFreedom on social media sites like Mastodon, GNU social, or Twitter. You might get a gift out of it yourself!


You can help others know which devices to avoid by documenting hardware you own that does or doesn't work with free software in the h-node database. Join a growing community of volunteers to help individuals choose hardware compatible with their freedom, even if they don't have Respects Your Freedom (RYF) certification.

Gift a membership

Freedom is the gift that keeps on giving. By giving your friend or family member an FSF associate membership, you can show them you care and benefit the cause for global software freedom.


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Replicant Project

Personal Computers

X200 with GNU/Linux

Get it from


    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!

  • Runs the FSF-endorsed Trisquel operating system and Libreboot firmware.
  • Durable hardware that's meant to be easy to repair.
  • Created by small businesses that replace restrictive components from a stock laptop.
Stay away from: M1 MacBook and MacBook Pro
  • macOS is proprietary software that restricts its users' freedoms.
  • In early November 2020, macOS was caught alerting Apple each time a user opens an app. Even though Apple is making changes to the service, it just goes to show how bad they try to be until there is an outcry.
  • Comes crawling with spyware that rats on you to advertisers.

Cool Devices

  • The perfect present for the cryptogeek in your life.
  • FST-01SZ is a tiny USB 32-bit computer based on a free (as in freedom) hardware design, and newly updated by its designer.
  • NeuG is an implementation of a true random number generator (TRNG) for GD32F103 MCU.
  • Great for all-free-software installations on laptops with incompatible Wi-Fi hardware.
  • Certified as part of our Respects Your Freedom (RYF) program.
  • If you use the X200 laptop listed in this Guide, an adapter like this won't be necessary.
  • Designed to complement your existing router by providing a VPN that enhances privacy and security and circumvents network controls.
  • Designed for easy setup.
  • As free as can be: runs the FSF-endorsed LibreCMC operating system on a product that is RYF-certified.

Books, Music, and Video

a shelf of books, with two layers, organized by color.


DRM-free Ebooks

    There are plenty of places to get your literature fix without the shackles of Digital Restrictions Management (DRM). We're highlighting some publishers and shops you should patronize below!

  • Leanpub is an author-driven ebook Web site encouraging people to "publish early, publish often."
  • Libreture provides a catalog of DRM-free ebook publishers, and a storage solution for all of your digital books and comics.
  • Lektu provides you with an array of DRM-free media in Spanish.
  • Nantucket E-Books is a DRM-free publisher and writing platform that also makes a strong commitment to software freedom. They were profiled in this season's Free Software Bulletin.
  • No Starch Press offers "the finest in geek entertainment," with educational books on a variety of programming topics.
  • Smashwords is the world's largest distributor of indie ebooks.
  • Many free (as in freedom) educational books are available through sites like FLOSS Manuals, a supporter of the International Day Against DRM.
  • Looking to buy paper books? Check out the GNU Press Shop for your technical manuals and documentation needs.
Stay away from: Amazon
  • Amazon is one of the most notorious DRM offenders. They use this Orwellian control over their devices and services to spy on users and keep them trapped in their walled garden.
  • Read more about the dangers of DRM through our Defective by Design campaign.


DRM-free Music

    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:

  • All of the music on Bandcamp is DRM-free and comes in a variety of formats, including patent-free ones like FLAC and Ogg Vorbis.
  • Dischord Records, a classic punk label providing music since 1980.
  • Emusic offers DRM-free MP3 downloads, providing a local alternative to streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music.
  • Folkways, providing digital downloads of the world's best folk and children's music, courtesy of the Smithsonian Institute.
  • HDTracks is an online music shop offering thousands of DRM-free downloads for you to play at home.
    Stay away from: Spotify, Apple Music, and all other major streaming services
  • Spotify is only one of many offenders when it comes to putting DRM in music: all major streaming services do this, with the support of big record labels.
  • In addition to streaming music encumbered by DRM, people who want to use Spotify are required to install additional proprietary software. Even Spotify's client for GNU/Linux relies on proprietary software.
  • Apple Music is no better, and places heavy restrictions on the music streamed through the platform.


DRM-free video

In the last year, many people have unfortunately become more dependent on streaming media. But it's important to remember how streaming services can deprive you of important rights. "Dis-services" like Disney+ and Netflix mandate the use of a hardware-level backdoor called Widevine, giving them permanent access into deep components of your machine.

Widevine prohibits these services from running on many older devices, 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 Moving Internet Archive for free (as in freedom) classic films and art projects.
  • The Blender Open Movies project has a collection of computer-animated films that were made entirely with Blender, an enormously popular free software tool.
  • 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.

Stay away from: Netflix

Help wanted!

The FSF's long-running h-node project has recently seen an uptick in activity, and we need your help to document how well free software runs on common devices.

By registering an account on h-node and filling out listings for your hardware, you can help newcomers to the free software movement select hardware that will make thir transition as easy as possible.

Join the FSF associate membership program


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. If you're still looking for a gift, and want to put your money towards digital freedom, please consider becoming a member or donating to another charity supported by your friend or loved one.

We've been fighting for digital freedoms since 1985, and have no plans of stopping. The work we do year-round is work to provide more and better options for gifts: spreading the message of software freedom, as well as helping retailers do the right thing and promoting the work of those who do. It's your support that makes this work possible.

Promotion details

Companies, distributors, and makers of freedom-friendly gadgets want to make it easier for you to give gifts that you feel good about. Check out these discounts and promotions.

  • GNU Press Shop: 5% discount on all items using the coupon code GIVEFREELY. Code expires on December 31st. As always, FSF members get a 20% discount. Together with this code, your associate membership could net you 25% off!
  • ThinkPenguin: 5% discount on all products is available to FSF members.


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