Best holiday gifts for open source enthusiasts

Best holiday gifts for open source enthusiasts

From Linux laptops and desktops to open source-themed masks and stickers, this 2020 open source gift guide can help you find the perfect gift for your loved one or co-worker.

Oh open source, oh open source, how often merged your branches. It’s that time of year, my friends–holiday spirit is overtaking the land. For the open source enthusiasts in your life, consider one or more of the options in this gift guide. Remember, open source gifts keep on giving, because every time you purchase an open source product, it helps those companies stay open. 


Dell XPS 13 Developer edition

Image: Dell

The Dell XPS 13 is still the undisputed champ of the pre-installed Linux laptop. Could this be the last year that this beautiful piece of technology remains at the top? There’s a lot of competition coming after it. No matter if (or when) the XPS is overtaken in the coming years, this laptop is still the reigning champ and every year it gets better and better. Beyond the fact that it’s the best Linux-powered laptop available, it’s also the finest ultrabook you can purchase. For any open source enthusiast looking for a top of the line 13″ laptop, this is the one to get. Don’t let the Developer edition title fool you–this laptop is an outstanding option for any type of user.

$1,049 at Dell


System 76 Thelio

Image: System 76

If you’re looking for a desktop, the single greatest Linux-powered desktop on the market is the System 76 Thelio. In fact, it might be the best desktop you can buy, period. This beast of a machine comes in three flavors: Thelio, Thelio Major, and Thelio Massive. For everyday use, go with Thelio. If your open source enthusiast is a gamer or needs more power, go with the Thelio Major. If, however, the recipient of this gift is a serious number cruncher, the Thelio Massive will power all of their tasks. Either way, you cannot go wrong with a gift of the Thelio. The Thelio has a base price of $899, the Thelio Major has a base price of $2499, and the Thelio Massive has a base price of $3199.

System 76


Ultimate Hacking Keyboard

Image: Ultimate Hacking Keyboard

No matter if your open source friend/loved one/colleague is a programmer, writer, or just spends a good deal of time hammering away at keys, they need a good keyboard. Hands down, the greatest computer keyboard ever made is the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard (UHK). It’s expensive, but it’s built like a tank and the speed at which you can type with this hardware is incomparable. For anyone who has issues with carpal tunnel (or other wrist/finger problems), this keyboard will offer sweet relief. The UHK keyboard is also a dream come true for anyone who wants to be as efficient as possible. With the Mod key and various other key combinations, your fingers never have to leave the home row. The split design and ability to switch from different keyboard layouts makes the UHK the most flexible keyboard on the market. The wood wrist rests are also the most comfortable on the market (and quite gorgeous).

$349 at UHK


Razor Kiyo webcam

Image: Razor

With the pandemic still raging around us, people are working from home in ever-greater numbers, which means more and more web conferencing. But don’t think your open source enthusiast has to be left out, due to a lack of supported hardware–there are a lot of available webcams that work with Linux out of the box. Although the Razor Kiyo webcam does require the installation of a driver, it offers outstanding video and includes a built-in ring light so if the room you’re working from has low lighting, web conferencing or streaming videos will still look professional. The ring light is also controlled by a physical dimmer (spin the rotating bezel to adjust the light output), so there’s no need to worry about using software to control the lighting. The Razor Kiyo supports video at 720P at 60FPS and 1080P at 30FPS, so there should be no issues with recording or streaming.

$99 at Razor


YubiKey 5 series

Image: Yubico

If your open source enthusiast is also serious about security, they might be interested in having a hardware encryption key from YubiKey. This USB security token makes encryption, key management, and tamper detection convenient and secure. With this physical key (that works well with Linux), your user can work with strong two-factor and multi-factor authentication with different protocols (FIDO2, U2F, Smart card, OTP, and OpenPGP 3). You’ll find devices for USB-A, USB-C, and NFC options. The YubiKey hardware also supports Google Chrome (two most recent versions), Mozilla Firefox (two most recent versions), and Opera (two most recent versions). 

$45 at Yubico


Linux Tux penguin cookie cutter

Image: Etsy

If your open source enthusiast also happens to enjoy baking, why not gift them with something that’ll keep on giving? The Linux Tux mascot cookie cutter is the perfect way to tell your loved one/friend/colleague that you not only support their love of open source, but encourage their mastery of the cooking arts. After all, the more cookies they bake, the better your chances that you’ll get to enjoy the fruits of that particular labor.

$8 at Etsy


Kubernetes logo mask

Image: Redbubble

There’s no telling how long the world will continue to have to wear face masks. In fact, it could become the new normal. Why not get your open source enthusiast a face mask they can be proud of wearing? You might have to do a bit of searching to find a face mask with just the right open source logo or saying such as “Stay ~/” or “I should be at,” but I promise, with a bit of time on Google, you’ll find one. For example, with a quick search I found a large selection of open source face masks on Redbubble.



Ansible sticker

Image: Ansible

Does your open source enthusiast like to adorn their laptops and other pieces of hardware with stickers? Is the rear bumper on their car a mass of vinyl advertisements for products, opinions, movements, and artists? Why not buy your open source fan a bevvy of stickers? You’ll find a sticker for just about every occasion–from programming languages to open source projects to Linux distributions to everything in between. Since stickers are cheap, you can buy that open source lover a stocking full of the things. One of the best places to find such items is Redbubble, where you can purchase stickers for Ansible, CentOS, Jenkins, NGINX, Docker Swarm, Terraform, Arch Linux, Gentoo, Ubuntu, and nearly every open source project on the market. You’ll even find socks, mugs, and t-shirts. 


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