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Give the gift of freedom!

New electronic gadgets make great presents for family and friends, but so many of the phones, computers, and toys come with proprietary programs, privacy-disrespecting software, and surveillance tools hidden inside.

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.

Most of the devices in this list carry a Respects Your Freedom (RYF) hardware product certification, which means that the product meets our high standards for endorsement. RYF-certified devices make great purchases and great gifts at any time of year – learn more and explore the full list on our Web site.

We also hope that our Giving Guide will help you find new ways to talk about how these kinds of devices deny users their freedom, and why it's important to respect your freedoms.

Tell your friends

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

Host a Giveaway

Printable version coming soon!

Support free software

Donate to our suggested charities

Smartphones

Galaxy S3 with Replicant
replicant phone

    Why it's cool: 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 run your favorite apps and send all the text messages you want, while still running free software.

    You can also get an S2 or an N2 phone/tablet, 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 exclusively runs free software, the modem processor runs a Samsung nonfree system.
Stay away from: iPhone
  • Comes with no shortage of spyware.
  • iOS is a fully proprietary operating system, giving Apple control over the software on every Apple device.
  • Avoid: iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone X, and other models.

Laptops, Tablets, and Desktops

Laptops

T400 with GNU/Linux
t400

    Why it's cool: The T400 is a popular laptop for running GNU/Linux because of how well-suited it is to work and play. Now you can get it completely free, with these RYF-certified options.

    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 small businesses that replace all restrictive components from a stock laptop.
  • Whether you purchase from Minifree or Technoethical, your T400 will be Respects Your Freedom certified.
Stay away from: Microsoft Windows

Compact Laptops

X200 with GNU/Linux
x200

Get it from

Libiquity Minifree Technoethical
Vikings

    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-certified 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

Convertible Laptops/Tablets

X200t with GNU/Linux
Technoethical convertible tablet laptop

    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: iPad Pro

Desktops

D16 Workstation with GNU/Linux
The Workstation, a tower computer by Vikings
Get it from

Vikings

    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.

  • Choose from two operating systems: the FSF-endorsed operating systems Trisquel and Parabola.
  • Comes with free boot firmware.
  • You can customize and specialize this model to your needs -- the essence of user freedom!
Stay away from: Apple iMac

    An iMac puts designers and filmmakers at risk:

  • Adobe Premiere Rush rents Mac (and Windows) users access to video editing software in exchange for control over their files.
Stay away from: Alienware Area-51 Threadripper
  • The newest Alienware gaming desktop comes with Ryzen Threadripper processors and loads of freedom-restricting proprietary software.

3D Printers

LulzBot Mini
lulzbot

Get it from

LulzBot

    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 thousands 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 2018 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

Cool Devices

  • The perfect present for the cryptogeek in your life.
  • FST-01 (Flying Stone Tiny ZERO-ONE) is a tiny USB 32-bit computer based on a free (as in freedom) hardware design.
  • NeuG is an implementation of a true random number generator (TRNG) for STM32F103 MCU.
  • Great for all-free-software installations on laptops with incompatible Wi-Fi hardware.
  • Certified to Respect Your Freedom.
  • If you use a 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 certified to Respect Your Freedom.

Books, Music, and Video

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

Books

DRM-free Ebooks

    There are plenty of places to get your literature fix without any pesky 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."
  • Lektu provides you with media in Spanish.
  • Manning Publications has audio and video in addition to ebooks.
  • No Starch Press offers "the finest in geek entertainment."
  • Packt Publishing has ebooks and videos covering a range of technical topics.
  • 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.

Music

DRM-free Music
    Stay away from: Spotify, iTunes, (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 and iTunes streaming also use DRM on its files.

Video

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 Archive.org containing thousands of film releases, available to stream or download.
  • WolfeOnDemand provides for all of your LGBTQ watching desires.
Stay away from: Netflix

We need better choices!

Sadly, there is not always the opportunity to choose freedom. You have to decide what is the right thing for you to do. In this section of our guide, we've highlighted some of the types of devices where there isn't a good choice. We hope you'll take this list as inspiration for the free software projects you contribute to and support.

In need of development
  • Cameras
  • Ebook readers
  • Fitness trackers
  • Smart watches
  • Video gaming systems
    Stay away from: These devices
    • Internet of Things connected home appliances, smart speakers, and virtual assistants are little more than spying devices brought into your home. These include Amazon Alexa, Amazon Echo, Google Home, Nest, Philips Hue lighting, Ring doorbell, Sonos One, and Wembo.
    • Self-driving cars are full of proprietary software, and they also pose a terrible risk to cyclists, pedestrians, and riders. Read more about the Tesla Model 3's anti-features and autopilot system.

Recommended organizations for holiday donations

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The Giving Guide is brought to you by the Free Software Foundation. We are powered by our Associate Members. Will you help us propel free software to new frontiers by joining today?

april
ceataopen rights group logo
cc
eff
gnome
sfc
wikimedia

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.
  • Libiquity: 10% rebate off your subtotal price for any items you buy from the Web site. Libiquity will donate 5% of each purchase's subtotal price to the FSF. Ends at 00:00 EST on February 1st, 2019. Claim the rebate by sending the code FSFGIVING and your order number to sales@libiquity.com. Libiquity will then credit the rebate amount to your payment method.
  • LulzBot: Features sales and clearance items on their Web site.
  • Technoethical: 5% discount on all purchases using the coupon code FSFHOLIDAYS. FSF members get an additional 10% off, using the code FSREWARDS.
  • ThinkPenguin: 5% discount on all products is available to FSF members.
  • Vikings: 5% discount on all products and services between now and February 1, 2019. Help the FSF: Vikings will also make a donation to the FSF for each product purchased using the coupon code fsfftw.

Licenses

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

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