This is the 2017 Giving Guide. For more current recommendations for ethical gift-giving, please see the 2018 Ethical Tech Giving Guide.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
An iMac puts designers and film makers at risk:
Why it's cool: Trying to go 100% free but stuck with a proprietary Wi-Fi card? just plug this into your USB port and you're ready to go.
Get it fromLulzBot
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.
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!
Many consider music essential to the richness of the human experience. Thanks to the many artists, producers, record labels, and shops highlighted on Defective by Design, the rights-respecting options are nearly endless. Check out music from great labels and artists, including:
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.
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:
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