Give the gift of freedom!

A new phone or computer can be the highlight of the holidays, but with proprietary software lurking under the wrapping paper, your thoughtful gift may be more naughty than nice.

This guide replaces these holiday humbugs with better devices from ethical companies—no creepy remote deletion of files or punitive and mean rules about copying and sharing. Just products and software that respect the freedom and privacy of your loved ones: gifts you can feel good about.

Plus, our crib notes below will help you explain why this version is better than the one they've heard of (and spread the word about software freedom, too).

Tell your friends

Use #givefreely. You might get a gift out of it!

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Printable version coming soon!

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replicant phone
Galaxy Note 2 with Replicant

Why it's cool: Ever feel like every time you pick up your smartphone, someone is watching you? This may not cut off their access entirely, but it will make their job a little harder.

Your smartphone is so much more than a phone: it's a tiny computer you carry with you every day, and for many people around the world, it's their only internet-enabled device. Choosing one of these phones lets you bring software freedom everywhere you go.

You can also get an S2 or S3, complete with Replicant.

  • Runs the Replicant free operating system, based on Android.
  • Features F-Droid, the free software catalog that makes it easy to get all the applications you need without sacrificing control of your phone.
  • Note: While the main processor is exclusively running free software, the modem processor runs a Samsung nonfree system.
Stay away from: iPhone

Laptops, Tablets, and Desktops


T400 with GNU/Linux

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    Why it's cool: You need a reliable computer for work and play. This one is just dandy for both, minus icky DRM and spyware.

    Setting up a fully free system is easier than it used to be, but can still seem daunting—especially if you've never done it before. Luckily, you can now get a new-to-you laptop that's ready to go out of the box.

    Technoethical also has a T400s available.

  • Runs the FSF-endorsed Trisquel operating system and libreboot firmware.
  • Durable hardware is meant to last and is easy to repair.
  • Created by a small business that replaces all restrictive components from a stock laptop.
Stay away from: Microsoft Windows

Compact Laptops

X200 with GNU/Linux

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Libiquity Minifree Technoethical

    Why it's cool: Take it to the office, take it to the cafe, take it to class, take it home and set it up on the counter so you can rock out while you cook. Do all of this the easy way.

    This machine is made to go everywhere with you and thanks to our friends who make RYF products, you can have your mobility and your freedom too.

  • Runs the FSF-endorsed Trisquel operating system with libreboot firmware. The X200 sold by Libiquity is also certified to Respect Your Freedom.
  • Durable hardware is meant to last and is easy to repair.
  • Created by a small business that replaces all restrictive components from a stock laptop.
  • Stay away from: Apple
    • Runs on proprietary software that restricts the user's freedoms.
    • Apple app stores use DRM to restrict what you can do with your purchases.
    • Comes crawling with spyware.
    • Avoid: MacBook Air (and MacBook Pro)

Convertible Laptops/Tablets

Technoethical convertible tablet laptop
X200t with GNU/Linux

    Why it's cool: Use it as a laptop or as a tablet with a built-in stylus. It may not be a brand-new concept, but it'll always feel a little futuristic.

    Enjoy all the portability of a tablet, without having to hunt-and-peck every letter when it comes time to do some work. It's versatile, multi-purpose, and stylish, and fits smoothly into every environment in your life (without pummeling you with the abuses of proprietary software).

  • Runs the FSF-endorsed Trisquel operating system with libreboot firmware.
  • Durable hardware is meant to last and is easy to repair.
  • Created by a small business that replaces all restrictive components from a stock laptop.
Stay away from: Microsoft Surface


The Workstation, a tower computer by Vikings
D16 Workstation with GNU/Linux
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    Why it's cool: Sometimes you need heavy-duty computing power that a laptop just can't provide.

    Gamers, video editors, and other users may want or need a more powerful machine – a desktop is the answer when you really need that extra push. Also good for users who want a bigger screen.

  • Options of coming with the FSF-endorsed Trisquel or Parabola operating systems.
  • Free boot firmware.
  • Customize and specialize to your needs.
Stay away from: Apple iMac

    An iMac puts designers and film makers at risk:

  • Photoshop and Illustrator have pesky DRM that can prevent the software from running even with a valid subscription.
  • Format lock-in keeps users from switching software.
Stay away from: Alienware Aurora
  • This gaming desktop claims to come without boundaries, but it does include enough proprietary software to limit any gamer.

Wireless Adapters

  • Great for all-free-software installations on laptops with incompatible Wi-Fi hardware.
  • Certified to Respect Your Freedom.
  • Options from Technoethical and ThinkPenguin.
  • If you use a laptop listed in this guide, an adapter like this won't be necessary.
  • More powerful than its smaller cousin, and can be further upgraded with a larger antenna.
  • Certified to Respect Your Freedom.
  • Multiple options from Technoethical and ThinkPenguin.
  • Designed to complement your existing router by providing a VPN that enhances privacy and security and circumvents network controls.
  • Designed for easy set-up.
  • As free as can be: runs the FSF-endorsed LibreCMC operating system on hardware that is certified to Respect Your Freedom.

3D Printers

LulzBot Mini

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    Why it's cool: Think ahead—if you give this to your friend or relative, they might use it next year to make YOU a gift.

    3D printers are an amazing learning and exploration tool for kids and a fun toy for grownups, and they've come a long way from their origins in the early 2000s. Keep it free and fun by digging into the zillions of free software options for modeling, and communities that share freely licensed designs.

  • Performance and seamless interface earned it "Editor's Choice" in Tom's Guide's 2017 3D printer comparison.
  • Hardware designs are available to make customization easy. Standardized material format allows 3D printing with plastics, wood-, stone-, bamboo-, rubber-, and metal-like materials.
Stay away from: MakerBot

Books, Music, and Video

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


DRM-free Ebooks

    There are a lot of options for where to get your literature fix without any pesky DRM. We're highlighting some publishers and shops who are offering deals for you!

  • Delphi Classics has a wide range of classic literature available in English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. Use the code fsfdelphi for 30% off orders over $10 through the end of December.
  • Ediciones Babylon can supply you with all of your Spanish language needs for comics, art, novellas, and novels. Use the code FSFDISCOUNTEB for 5% off all the way through March 2018.
  • No Starch Press specializes in educational, instructional, and how-to books on everything from arduinos to system administration. Use the code ETHICTECH for 40% off through January 10th, 2018.
    Stay away from: Amazon
    • Amazon is one of the most notorious of DRM offenders. Whether it's their Kindle e-reader or their countless DRM-encumbered ebooks, Amazon is the place to go if you want to let someone else snatch away texts from your personal library.
    • Where's O'Reilly? While the publisher's ebooks are still available from third party sellers (in both DRM-free and DRM-encumbered formats), O'Reilly themselves stopped selling their DRM-free catalogue earlier in 2017.


DRM-free Music
    Stay away from: Spotify

    Spotify isn't the only offender 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.


DRM-free Video

    As winter comes to the Northern Hemisphere, it's the perfect time to curl up under a blanket and watch some DRM-free video. In the Southern Hemisphere? Enjoy relaxing with a great movie actually owned by you.

    You can find your DRM-free video fix at places including:

  • ComedyDirect can make you laugh while storing your videos locally.
  • Moving Image Archive is a section of containing thousands of film releases, available to stream or download.
  • WolfeOnDemand provides for all of your LGBTQ watching desires.
Stay away from: Netflix

Recommended organizations for holiday donations


Promotion details

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

  • LulzBot: Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts are available through their site.
  • ThinkPenguin: 5% discount on all products is available to FSF members.
  • Vikings: 5% discount on all products and services between now and February 1, 2018. Help the FSF! Vikings will also make a donation for each product purchased using this code. Use the coupon code fsfftw.
  • Licenses

    This page by the Free Software Foundation is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 Unported.

    The graphics and photos used on this page have been modified by the Free Software Foundation and are licensed separately under the following terms: