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Free Software Foundation Announces 2013 Holiday Giving Guide 104

Posted by timothy
from the rewarding-good-behavior dept.
An anonymous reader writes "On Cyber Monday, millions of Americans will take to the Internet in search of the newest gadgets to bestow upon their loved ones. Most of these 'gifts' are trojan horses that will spy on their recipients, prevent them from doing what they want with their device, or maybe even block access to their favorite books or music. The Free Software Foundation is proud to introduce a map through this minefield: our 2013 Giving Guide. The Giving Guide features gifts that will not only make your recipients jump for joy; these gifts will also protect their freedom."
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Free Software Foundation Announces 2013 Holiday Giving Guide

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  • Really? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Spritzer (950539)
    After reading through the list it seems they want me to give my non-techie family a bunch of shit they'll never figure out or have no use for anyway. How cute
    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 28, 2013 @11:19AM (#45548679)

      So give the gifts to your techie friends. Or give the list to your non-technie family and say 'buy something from that list for me for christmas, family'.

      Who wouldn't want a 3D printer, libre laptop, or non-NSA-compatable internet file storage?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Exactly; the guide should be called, "How to make your family hate you and cause even more tech support calls for yourself." Those gadgets are not something that the "normals" would want or ever get working.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        ThinkPenguin laptops are like bottom of the barrel. Touch pads that make Dell seem good, creaky bulky chassis from a decade ago. Default 80GB non-SSD hard disks!? in 2013?

        • by Anonymous Coward

          But it is FSF approved lol so that makes usage of modern hardware requiring firmware impossible...

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Yeah. I was quite excited when first clicking the link, but the specs and photos made me puke. This doesn't make Dell seem good, this makes $200 chinese knock-offs seem good.

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        none of their gifts constitute as good gift ideas.

        FSF membership as a gift? wtf. yeah, you sure that will make my mom part of your community?

        give a 3d printer to someone who has no idea how to use it? bad idea and their choice isn't that cheap either(taz2 is fucking TWO GRAND on sale! you can get fucking three mendel90's style machines that are the thing they took the design from for that money! but it's oooh so open as if the other cheap bots weren't! fucking link to reprap.org at least... and just maybe,

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by MightyYar (622222)

      This is a list for your paranoid delusional friends and family. I have a few of those.

      • by Nerdfest (867930)

        What used to be considered "paranoid delusional" is more frequently being considered "informed" these days.

    • Re:Really? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Rozzin (9910) on Thursday November 28, 2013 @11:51AM (#45548829) Homepage

      After reading through the list it seems they want me to give my non-techie family a bunch of shit they'll never figure out or have no use for anyway. How cute

      Maybe your non-techie family members are different than everyone else's, but in general those non-techie family members will never really figure out their Windows or Macintosh PC, or their iPhone, or Google servicesâ"they're going to lean heavily on their family's designated techie for tech support regardless of what they're using (for learning how to do new things, for remembering how to do things they've done before, and for cleaning up the messes they get themselves into). Might as well give them something that's easier for you to support.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Spritzer (950539)
        The non-techies in most families who actually use computers and smart phones are typically already accustomed to a particular OS/device. It's much easier to support their occasional need than to spend countless hours explaining how to make this new thing do what the old thing did. Now, if the FSF membership came with tech support for FSF supported items, I'd buy them one of those in a heartbeat.
      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        by BitZtream (692029)

        ... You're an idiot.

        Maybe your non-techie family members are different than everyone else's, but in general those non-techie family members will never really figure out their Windows or Macintosh PC, or their iPhone, or Google servicesâ"they're going to lean heavily on their family's designated techie for tech support regardless of what they're using (for learning how to do new things, for remembering how to do things they've done before, and for cleaning up the messes they get themselves into). Might as well give them something that's easier for you to support.

        Uhm, you do realize reality is pretty much exactly the opposite of what you just said right ...

        Thats why our non-techie family members and friends use those things in the first place.

        Grandma and grandpa may have tech issues since they were born before 30 years before the Internet even existed, but pretty much everyone else has figured out the popular products ... that is why those products are popular.

      • Might as well give them something that's easier for you to support, isn't what their friends and much of the rest of the family use, limits their software choices, and makes them further dependent on you.

        There, fixed that for you.

        I don't know about your family or that of the OP... but mine would not be grateful for such a 'gift'. It's like giving them clothes that fit me, in my favorite colors, or CD's of all my favorite music - with complete disregard for their tastes.

      • by westlake (615356)

        Maybe your non-techie family members are different than everyone else's, but in general those non-techie family members will never really figure out their Windows or Macintosh PC, or their iPhone, or Google services...

        Stop. Right. There.

        The geek's friends and family have made a big investment in hardware, software and services that meet their particular requirements ---not yhis.

        The geek's friends and family may struggle now and again with a particular problem.

        But in their millions and hundreds of millions they have somehow managed to get through most of the year without him.

        How quickly the geek forgets that successful changes in core systems, software and procedures in any environment demands a massive, long term com

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by BitZtream (692029)

      The reality of it is, anyone who uses this guide to give gifts doesn't actually have any friends.

      Its a list of crap that is wrapped entirely around RMS's silly political agenda.

      Anyone who gives Linux as a gift is a such a douche that I can safely say they don't have ayn friends. Well, they may think they have friends, but no one thinks of them as such.

      Anyone who would use that Linux distro ... isn't going to want the one you're giving them, and can just go download it themselves ... and to make matters wor

    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by exomondo (1725132) on Thursday November 28, 2013 @05:40PM (#45551267)

      I can see what they're getting at but every single choice there is only better if you value "software freedom" above all else, and even in some cases they seem to be acting deliberately obtuse. For example you can install GNU/Linux on a Macbook Pro and not only will you have far superior hardware than the thinkpenguin solution but you have the choice to use whatever OS suits you for a particular task.
      Then there's Google Drive, sure it's free and your data is accessible to Google but if you want "cloud storage" you can't guarantee that data will always be private no matter who you host it with and if need further protections you will obviously encrypt it anyway.
      And what does mediagoblin vs youtube have to do with "gift giving"?

      The idea that most people will value software freedom above all else is idiocy so instead they need to focus on making good products, products that appeal to most people and compete with non-free products. At the moment many (not all) things in that list are examples of free (as in freedom) resulting in a crappier product. "Free" needs to result in an equal or better product in comparison but also have the advantage of being free.

      • by fgouget (925644)

        if you want "cloud storage" you can't guarantee that data will always be private no matter who you host it with and if need further protections you will obviously encrypt it anyway.

        Wrong the solution is client-side encryption [wikipedia.org]. the FSF did mention it on their page: "Client side encryption to prevent snooping".

        The idea that most people will value software freedom above all else is idiocy so instead they need to focus on making good products, products that appeal to most people and compete with non-free products.

        Given that most people value brand above all else, competing on features is far from sufficient.

        • by exomondo (1725132)

          Wrong the solution is client-side encryption [wikipedia.org]. the FSF did mention it on their page: "Client side encryption to prevent snooping".

          My statement didn't preclude client-side encryption, in fact if you read the passage I quoted I explicitly said you would encrypt it anyway.

          Given that most people value brand above all else, competing on features is far from sufficient.

          I didn't say you have to compete on features, you need to compete in all areas to build products that people actually want to use, or you can just continue the defeatist attitude and lament your view that even if you did build something decent nobody would use it...maybe that's why those products suck so much.

          • by fgouget (925644)

            My statement didn't preclude client-side encryption, in fact if you read the passage I quoted I explicitly said you would encrypt it anyway.

            You said "you would encrypt it anyway" which as stated implies a manual operation, while client-side encryption is transparent. Furthermore you did say "if you want "cloud storage" you can't guarantee that data will always be private no matter who you host it with" which is wrong: if your cloud storage solution performs client-side encryption then that's a garantee your data will be private.

            I didn't say you have to compete on features, you need to compete in all areas to build products that people actually want to use, or you can just continue the defeatist attitude and lament your view that even if you did build something decent nobody would use it...maybe that's why those products suck so much.

            You did not say they "have to" but you said they "need to", pretty much the same, and implied that would be sufficient

            • by exomondo (1725132)

              You said "you would encrypt it anyway" which as stated implies a manual operation

              No it doesn't imply that at all.

              Furthermore you did say "if you want "cloud storage" you can't guarantee that data will always be private no matter who you host it with" which is wrong: if your cloud storage solution performs client-side encryption then that's a garantee your data will be private.

              Rubbish, encryption is never guaranteed to be unbreakable.

              You did not say they "have to" but you said they "need to"

              Wrong again, I clearly said they need to focus on making good products, products that appeal to most people and compete with non-free products, which - despite it clearly not saying it - you have interpreted to mean they have to compete on features which is clearly only one aspect.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Hum, none of the presents I would really like actually.

  • Isn't there a law against cruel and unusual punishment?

  • In fact, no ties, nor chains neither. You can be the the owner of those gifts, not being owned by them.
  • by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Thursday November 28, 2013 @11:54AM (#45548853)

    Most of these 'gifts' are trojan horses that will spy on their recipients, prevent them from doing what they want with their device, or maybe even block access to their favorite books or music.

    1. trojan horses that will spy on their recipients: Xbox 360, Xbox One, all cellphones, Smart TVs.

    2. block access to their favorite books: Kindles, iPads/iPhones.

    3. block access to their favorite music: iTunes hasn't used DRM on their music files since April 7, 2009 [wikipedia.org] and as far as I know Amazon sells plain MP3 files so I'm not sure what they're talking about in the case of music.

  • Jump for joy? Sure, if the jump is leading up to them roundhouse-kicking you in the face for buying them a shitty gift.

  • An anonymous reader, eh? I reckon it's Bennet Haselton.

    • by Desler (1608317)

      Can't be Bennett. It's not 10000 words long and rambling about how he's being persecuted for running a spam list.

  • If you are unable to make your point without flat-out lying then perhaps you should reevaluate your... Wait, it's RS. Never mind.

    "MacBook Pro: Planned obsolescence: business model forces you to buy new devices frequently." I'll mention that to my friends carrying various laptops that aren't worth enough to sell but completely functional and in use. My wifey uses a MacBook and she's never been forced to upgrade.

    "iOS: The company claims to take away your freedom". I'm sure RS can tie that back to something th

    • by Nerdfest (867930)

      The macBook isn't that much worse than other laptops, but iOS most definitely takes away your freedom. It has a single software source with no option to install something Apple doesn't approve of. They've blocked children's programming apps, political statements, and magazines relating to their competition.

    • I'd love to know what their definition of "buy new devices frequently" is in relation to the MacBook Pro - mine is 3.5 years old and its still going strong. I envision getting another 2 or more years out of it yet, probably more. Its already older than the Dell it replaced.

  • by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Thursday November 28, 2013 @12:07PM (#45548943)

    Get yourself a Lulzbot TAZ 2.0 3D printer

    From the Lulzbot webpage:

    -------------

    LulzBot TAZ 2 3D Printer
    SKU: 817752014304
    $2,395.00

    Pre-Order: All current orders are pre-orders. Pre-orders are expected to start shipping before the end of the year (this does not include the Fundable backers, which will start shipping sooner). Expected lead times for shipment are currently 7-8 weeks.

    -------------

    So not only are they suggesting that people BUY a 3D printer instead of making their own [reprap.org] in the true open hardware/open source spirit, they're listing one of the most expensive 3D printer out there and it's not even going to start shipping until after Christmas/early next year.

  • When you can't beat them ... lie.

    Why is it half the shit on that list of comparisons is flat out lies or exaggerations beyond acceptable?

    Even if you take the GNU fanboy side, its just full of flat out lies.

    Pretending Linux some how magically doesn't even need upgrading ... but windows does.
    Pretending this 3d printer is open source/libre ... when it isn't even actually available.
    Pretending a Mac can't run Linux for some reason, and that somehow Apple laptops are prone to planned obsolescence but magically th

    • Pretending everything on iTunes is DRM'd ... EXCEPT the biggest part of the iTunes store. (not that there isn't plenty of DRM on there in all the other stuff)

      I figured apps were the biggest part of the iTunes store, but who knows?

  • Target Acquired. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by VortexCortex (1117377) <.VortexCortex. . ... -retrograde.com.> on Thursday November 28, 2013 @12:27PM (#45549127)

    Many of the comments here seem to insinuate you have to be delusional to enjoy and desire 100% free software. I'd like anything on that gift giving guide. I'm not a paranoid delusional. My paranoia is based on plenty of evidence, and is tempered by practicality. However, that's the tiniest of concern compared to the other benefits offered.

    I wouldn't necessarily gift that stuff to folks who wouldn't appreciate it, but I'd recommend the guide to folks looking to allocate resources on my behalf. I also know several young folks that would appreciate the gifts. My niece really loves tinkering with technology, and is always "pestering" me to play with our toy languages, toy OSs and electronics and robotics projects. She wouldn't have known where to begin if it wasn't for the gift of free software.

    Having an OS and supporting software that's fully free and open source has been a huge benefit in our learning and teaching endeavors, especially as references to how stuff works. Doesn't anyone remember the joys of discovering how to code? While some kids took apart dad's drill, I took apart my boot sector and had no one to look to for help. I wasn't lucky enough to have a mentor or access to an open source OS -- or even a free & open compiler -- when I was trying to learn how the CS wheels were invented. I was amazed when I discovered I could just use the DTR pin of a serial port (instead of the then incomprehensible to me RS232) to control switch on a model train set. I'd have been ecstatic to have working source code for something like LIRC or blown away by a 3D printer, and I know my niece will love them too. I know for a fact she's get plenty of enjoyment demonstrating to her friends her creations via her own portable OS shaped like a key.

    What's best is knowing that unlike on proprietary systems, when I'm asked, "but how does it do that?", I can always say, "Hmm, I don't know. Let's see!"

    • by westlake (615356)

      Many of the comments here seem to insinuate you have to be delusional to enjoy and desire 100% free software.

      You don't have to be delusional to enjoy free software.

      But a Maker Bot can be purchased off the shelf from Amazon.com. Windows 8.1 has a 3D printer API which supports it and an entry level 3D Builder app which supports STL, OBJ, and Windows 3MF files.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Many of the comments here seem to insinuate you have to be delusional to enjoy and desire 100% free software. I'd like anything on that gift giving guide.

      You'd like a new and relatively untested Linux distribution? That'd be a great thing to saddle a relative with. You have any relatives you're planning to spend a grand on? Then you can buy them that 3D printer. Better spend another grand on doodads and consumables. FSF membership card? Nobody in my family would want one. Laptop with a premium for coming with Linux installed? Also expensive. Project Gutenberg? This holiday, give the gift that your family already has access to 24x7. A wacky fork of Android? Y

  • From the Giving Guide [fsf.org]: "Project Gutenberg over Amazon". The problem with relying exclusively on Gutenberg is that you'll end up with an impression that nothing happened after 1922 because that's the cutoff for U.S. perpetual copyright. This means, for example no World War II to spur the development of electronic computers in the first place.
    • by westlake (615356)

      From the Giving Guide: "Project Gutenberg over Amazon". The problem with relying exclusively on Gutenberg is that you'll end up with an impression that nothing happened after 1922

      The problem with Project Guttenberg is that its century old or older texts are too often no longer readable or trustworthy.

      It is enough to make you appreciate the difficulties facing any editor or translator.

  • Seriously - why on earth are you suggesting half those products? While I respect and am aligned with the goals of the FSF, half those "products" are going to change nothing (at best), or backfire (at worst). If you gave a list of decent products, that would be different - I can feel good about giving gifts that people (who don't care about FSF) can appreciate. This just seems like a set of gifts that make me feel good, while my non-techie friends spend hours trying to return the gift for refunds. And what i

    • by quitte (1098453)

      Intel webcam from the early 2ks? What a blast from the past. Does it have a composite video output per chance? If it does it works perfectly well with a cheap bt8xx tv card.

      • by Kwyj1b0 (2757125)
        Nope, it is a USB camera - Intel CS110. A quaint old camera; I was shocked that it worked with Windows 8 actually. My primary camera got busted, and I dug this out of my garage. Oddly enough, it works with Skype in Desktop mode, but the turd that is Metro Skype refuses to believe I have a camera.
  • As I see it, the FSF's biggest problem is that their obsession with "not-proprietary" actually seems to overshadow their focus on "legally free".

    However, at least this list has a couple of actual things on it that actually would be generous gifts (Heck, yeah, if somebody bought me that 3D printer, I'd cope with waiting a week or two after christmas to get it, and a nice laptop computer would always be appreciated). I was half-expecting it to be ALL "Give the FSF money and tell then you did it for them!"

    Opti

  • As a great proponent of software freedom, digital (and other) privacy etc... I can applaud the FSF for bringing to light the issues with common software and hardware and offering alternatives. However, from a practical standpoint, as others have said - these items are only alluring to those who value software freedom above all else. Why? These items typically will be less functional, easy to use, or are otherwise encumbered for all but those who see the value of software freedom and are willing to put in

  • I ignored the guide (well I didn't know about it at the time) and got a Kindle Fire. Guess what, you can't even install the free apps without a credit card. And is not like it comes with a lot of apps, it is basically unusable without a credit card!

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