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, no 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!

Host a Giving Guide Giveaway

Download the printable version.

Support free software activism

Donate to our suggested charities in your friend/family member's name


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 catalogue 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: iPhones
  • Comes with no shortage of spyware.
  • iOS is a fully proprietary operating system, giving Apple control over the software on the devices.
  • Apple uses DRM to block competing software.

Laptops, Tablets, and Desktops


T400 with GNU/Linux

    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: Windows

Compact Laptops

X200 with GNU/Linux

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Libiquity 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 listen to NPR while you cook. Do all of this the easy way.

    This machine is made to go everywhere with you, and thanks to Libiquity and Technoethical, 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.

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.

    Vikings offers three desktop computers. (ThinkPenguin also has desktops.)

  • Options of coming with the FSF-endorsed Trisquel or Parabola operating systems.
  • Choose between corebook and Libreboot.
  • Customize and specialize to your needs.
Stay away from: Intel Management Engine
  • Intel Management Engine is a little piece of firmware that performs various tasks while computers are booting, running, and sleeping. This poses a major security risk and threat to user freedom. While there's not actually anything that can be done about Intel ME at the moment, it's good to know what's lurking inside your computer.
  • Mandatory Windows updates force users to test potentially unstable new versions. Read more about Windows's abuses.

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 2016 3D printer comparison.
  • Hardware designs 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
  • MakerWare software is proprietary, restricting freedom and stifling innovation.
  • MakerBot was founded with a more freedom-respecting philosophy, but has since announced an increasingly proprietary approach and distanced itself from the community that formed around it.

Books, Games, Music, and Video


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 Games

    Gaming systems have adopted all sorts of DRM technologies, allowing gaming companies to limit your access to games and even the ability to brick whole systems. However, there's hope in the wide world of DRM-free games!

  • Good Old Games thinks you should not just be able to play with your friends, but share with them. They carry all kinds of games -- action, adventure, RPGs, strategy game s-- and even movies specially for gamers.
  • Humble Bundle first made its name with pay-what-you-want DRM-free books, and have since expanded to a whole range of games.
  • We'd be remiss to not mention Nethack, a game well loved by many gamers and free software nerds. A classic roguelike with a classic, freedom-respecting license, there's no reason to not feel good sharing this game.
    Stay away from: XBox
    • Over the years XBox has gone back and forth with their use of DRM with a current pro-DRM stance. It's best to just stay away since we can never tell when they're just going to change their minds
    • .
    • A quick note on Sony: The PlayStation 4 runs games DRM-free. However, there is enough nonfree software running on the system that we cannot recommend it in good conscience.


DRM-free Music
    Stay away from: Spotify

    DRM is the unfortunate standard for so much major-label music that's available today. While Spotify certainly isn't the only offender, they're the one we are choosing to highlight.

    In addition to streaming music encumbered by DRM, people who want to use Spotify are required to install additional proprietary software. Spotify's build for GNU/Linux is available as a Debian package that requires Debian non-free and comes with "onerous license conditions."


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.
  • Sintel has a huge selection of DRM-free films made with free software.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Respects Your Freedoms

    The FSF certifies hardware that respects your freedoms. These items arrive installed with free software, and you can see a complete list of RYF products on

    We would never recommend you use, run, or give proprietary software. However, one part of RYF certification is the promise that one can install any software they wish on the device. This includes proprietary software. Free software is about many things, including the right to choose what is on your device. We urge you to keep your gifts and own devices fully free -- it's not only the responsible thing, but the right thing.


    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: