December 15, 2011

Holiday Gift Ideas for Linux Users

The holidays are almost here, and for a lot of people that means gift giving. Getting gifts, of course, is the easy part. Finding the right gift is the hard part. If you're shopping for your favorite Linux user, or you're a Linux user shopping for others, we've got a bunch of fun ideas to help you round out the shopping list.

Big Ticket

Nothing says "happy holidays" like a brand-new Linux system. Sure, they're a bit more expensive than a pair of socks, but a Linux laptop, netbook, or desktop is the gift that will keep giving throughout the year.

If you want to buy a system with Linux pre-installed, you should check out System76 and ZaReason. Both vendors offer laptops, desktops, and netbook systems. (And servers, if you're looking to put a rackmount system under the tree this year.)

By the way, we've reviewed ZaReason systems before, and I've also had hands-on time with some systems from System76. Both companies offer really nice systems pre-configured with Linux. You can be sure that all hardware is Linux-compatible, and your money is going to an OEM that supports Linux.

If your friend or family member is more of a tablet person, you can find plenty of Android tablets and Android-based e-readers like the Kindle Fire and Barnes and Noble's Nook.

Fun and Games

If your budget doesn't cover a brand new machine, there's plenty of fun stuff for Linux users that you might consider instead.

ThinkGeek has a decent list of Linux items, not to mention tons of items that aren't Linux-specific but will appeal to almost anybody. Let's take a look at a few highlights.

The Stuffed Tux is a must for any hard-core Linux fan. If you don't have at least one plush Tux in the house, it's time to remedy that.

For aspiring Linux gurus, there's the Linux Cheat Shirt, that has a spiffy Linux reference card printed upside down for easy use. Also, who doesn't need another t-shirt?

I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention the Store, which has a lot of clothing and accessories that you might like. I'm partial to the Kernel Crew Hoodies, because winter in St. Louis demands a good hoodie.

For the really young, future Linux enthusiasts, there's the Linux onesies. Get 'em started young, I say.


If you have any friends that are into recording, podcasting, or any other kind of audio editing, they might enjoy The Book of Audacity. Written by our own Carla Schroder, this is a definitive guide to Audacity for the audiophile in your life.

Also published this year, you might want to gift your favorite person with the vi and Vim Editors Pocket Reference.

Get Crafty

You can spread holiday cheer of the low-tech variety as well. Check out Etsy and do a Linux search on Etsy, you'll find plenty of Linux-inspired craft goods. Everything from Tux earrings, cufflinks, baby blankets, to a Steampunk Squid-shaped USB 4GB Flash Disk. Hey, there's almost no chance that they'll already have one.

And Etsy is full of other craft goodness that, while it's not Linux-related, makes for great gifts anyway.

What other gift ideas do you have for the holidays, or any other gift-giving occasion?

Click Here!