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FSF Giving Guide: Freedom is the greatest gift of all

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GNU

It seems like the usual holiday sales just get earlier and earlier. Not content with just hammering us with ads, certain megalithic companies named after large rivers or fruits try to foist their "deals" on us as soon as they can. Given the degree to which our lives are mediated by technology, it's no surprise that so many holiday sales focus on "devices," that catch-all name we've given to those computers that run in our pockets, laps, and living rooms. Yet before you cave to pressure, you should make sure that gift isn't putting your friend or family member under unjust control.

For the last twelve years, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) has published our Ethical Tech Giving Guide as a way to help concerned individuals make sure that the gift they might plan on giving their loved ones doesn't deprive them of their freedom. It's natural to want the very best gift for that special person in your life. It's also natural to want that gift to last them as long as possible. But if you plan on giving any devices, it's important to carefully consider the gift that you choose and the message it sends. The Amazon Echo or Chromebook that you're buying today has a good chance of being obsolete in the next few years, and more importantly, could set your friend or family member's digital freedom back even longer.

Freedom is the best gift you can give, and the one that keeps on giving. Rather than purchasing that new gadget, we encourage you to take the time to explore installing free software on one your friend or family member already owns. Taking your first steps to freedom often doesn't just help you win back your digital autonomy: it provides an opportunity for you to deepen your relationship with the ones you care about through a shared learning experience, and inaugurates you into a worldwide community of users.

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