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Give the gift of freedom!

New electronics can be the highlight of your holiday, but so many of the phones, computers, and toys come with proprietary software and privacy disrespecting and surveillance 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.

We also hope the Guide will help you find new ways to talk about why these kinds of devices are risky to your user freedom, and why it's important to respect your freedoms.

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

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Smartphones

replicant phone
Galaxy S3 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 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 is exclusively running 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 the devices.
  • Avoid: iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone X, and other models.

Laptops, Tablets, and Desktops

Laptops

t400
T400 with GNU/Linux

Get it from

Technoethical

Minifree

    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
X200 with GNU/Linux

Get it from

Libiquity 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

Convertible Laptops/Tablets

Technoethical convertible tablet laptop
X200t with GNU/Linux

Get it from

Minifree Technoethical

    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

The Workstation, a tower computer by Vikings
D16 Workstation with GNU/Linux
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.

  • 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:

  • 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
LulzBot Mini

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 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

Cool Devices

  • 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.
  • 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.

Books, Music, and Video

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

Books

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.
  • 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

    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.

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.
  • 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

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. 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 contribue to and support.

In need of development
  • Cameras
  • E-readers
  • 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.
  • Self-driving cars are full of proprietary software, posing a risk to cyclists, pedestrians, and riders. Read more about the Tesla Model 3's anti-features and autopilot system.

Recommended organizations for holiday donations

april
ceata
cc
eff
gnome
sfc
wikimedia
fsf

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: