In your gift giving this year, put freedom first

It's time to reclaim our freedom from the abuse of multinational corporations, who use proprietary software and malicious "antifeatures" to keep us powerless, dependent, and surveilled by the devices that we use. There's no time at which it's more important to turn these unfortunate facts into positive action than the holiday season.

The gifts that we recommend here might not be making headlines, but they're the rare exception to the apparent rule that devices should mistreat their users. We encourage you to take a close look at our recommendations and see if they might work for you or a loved one.

This year, choose freedom

To minimize ecological waste and encourage free software adoption, 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. And if you're a strongly technical user, this year's Guide also lists devices that need a little help or development to cross the freedom "finish line."

Tell your friends

Share the Guide! Use the hashtag #FreedomToShare 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. Or, add it to your wishlist and let your own friends and family know you want to support the FSF!


Replicant logo

Visit the site

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 Trisquel and other FSF-endorsed operating systems. (You can use the upcoming Trisquel 11 on it, too!)
  • Durable hardware that's easy to repair.
  • Widely available from resellers and shops for hobbyists.
  • Since a properly equipped X200 is certified to run free software, it means that you and gift recipients have the #FreedomToShare.
Stay away from: M1 MacBook and MacBook Pro
  • macOS is proprietary software that restricts its users' freedoms.
  • In 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 you out to advertisers.

Cool Devices

  • 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.

Products to Watch

a spotlight shining in the darkness
Promising Communities & Companies

    Each and every day, free software reaches more devices and is used in more interesting contexts. While we haven't evaluated these products specifically in our RYF program, we're including mentions of certain communities who are going in the right direction when it comes to freedom, but who aren't fully there yet. They're already making waves, but need the help of developers or technical users in crossing the freedom "finish line" to full acceptability.

  • MNT's Reform laptop is promising from a free software perspective. If the nonfree RAM training were to be replaced by the community, we have reason to believe it would be fully compatible with your freedom.
  • Vikings sells a variety of devices that respect you as a user, not just the X200. Many of these devices are RYF-certified, and others, like the Talos II, are freedom-friendly.
  • Purism's devices ship with the PureOS distribution of the GNU/Linux operating system, one that is more freedom-friendly than popular distributions like Mint or Ubuntu.
  • PINE64 is a company and user community making a variety of laptops, smartwatches, ereaders, and more. The freedom status of these devices vary, but the project has made positive progress in a short time, piquing the interest of many in the free software community.

If you know of a project or company we've missed who are earnestly working to free their devices, but who need a little help in doing so, please let us know!

  • None of the devices in this section are fully compatible with free software, but the companies behind them are making a good faith effort. Even if you're not a developer, you can write them to let them know you support their work in moving towards freedom.
  • We cannot and do not guarantee that devices uncertified by our RYF program are fully compatible with free software. For the final authority on these matters, and for maximum freedom, choose an RYF-certified device.
  • Research the device you're buying. It may be intended for free software developers or hobbyists who are more tolerant of bugs, and who want to help the project advance.
  • These devices might be easier to find than some of our recommendations for refurbished products, but shipping them to your location might still be a challenge.

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.
  • Standard Ebooks makes high quality, gratis editions of public domain works of literature using the latest technology compatible with the EPUB specification.
  • Nantucket E-Books is a DRM-free publisher and writing platform that also makes a strong commitment to software freedom. They have been profiled in the FSF's Free Software Bulletin.
  • No Starch Press offers "the finest in geek entertainment," with educational books on a variety of programming topics. They're also the publisher of Ada & Zangemann, an introduction to free software concepts for children of all ages.
  • Smashwords is the world's largest distributor of indie ebooks.
  • Looking to buy paper books? Check out the GNU Press Shop for your technical manuals and documentation needs.
  • Plus, since all these books are DRM-free, you'll get that warm and fuzzy feeling that comes with having the #FreedomToShare.
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.
  • Be aware that Amazon isn't the peddler of ebook DRM. Disturbingly, it's enthusiastically supported by most of the big publishing houses.
  • 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. DRM-free, too!
  • 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.
  • Mutopia provides hundreds of attractive, free "as in freedom" sheet music downloads. Music isn't just recorded, you know!
    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

Over the past few years, 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. Don't be swayed by them -- even if your access is gratis and "ad-supported."

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 their transition as easy as possible. You can also participate in the h-node community by joining the #h-node channel on the Libera.Chat IRC network.

Help the FSF

If you're in the Boston area and would like to volunteer some time in support of free software and the FSF's mission, get in touch with us! We're always in need of help stuffing envelopes, scanning copyright assignments, and more. One great place to get involved in volunteering is our upcoming LibrePlanet 2023 conference.

Do you have a product that you think is eligible for RYF certification? Read our information for hardware vendors to find out.

Join the FSF associate membership program

FSF logo

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 31. 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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