The best Christmas gifts for Linux and FOSS geeks

The best Christmas gifts for Linux and FOSS geeks
Photo by Annie Spratt / Unsplash
Oh, my love, we've had our share of tears
Oh, my friend, we've had our hopes and fears
Oh, my friends, it's been a long hard year
But now it's Christmas
Yes, it's Christmas
Thank God it's Christmas
©Queen - Thanks Good It's Christmas

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year! I think not many people will argue with this fact. How can you make Christmas even better? Yes, gifts! Gifts can revive old relationships, signal to old friends that you still remember them, or motivate children.

How to give better gifts? Well, first you need to know better the person who would receive the gift. Is he or she yours or old, poor or rich? It's much harder to give gifts to reach people because they have a lot of stuff and can throw your gift to trash very fast. So buying a new iPhone is definitely a bad idea in such a case.

  • Sentiments matters

Choose something good from the person's childhood or early adulthood. It can be anything, do not limit your imagination: an old photo set, an old stereo like National Panasonic or a city poster from the old days. It's not easy to find this stuff, but don't give up - it will make your gift much more valuable! And the person will remember your gift for a long time!

  • The moment of giving should be played well.

Everything should be unexpected, the person should be in good mood, not tired, angry, etc. Otherwise your gift has all risks to go directly to trash 😊 Also your emotions and face should tell how much is importans and joyfull to give this beautiful gift.

  • Experience is better than thing

A rock climbing course, a week long river cruise or a mountain tour has more chances to impress and not be forgotten.

  • Being selfish doesn't work.

We often judge things from our personal point of view, forgetting one simple fact: another person often thinks radically differently. If the gift meets this conflict of interest, it won't end well.

  • Make things easier

If you want to give a painting with alternative style and deep hidden meaning - use the person will understand it completely.

  • Don't go overboard with personalization

You know that person loves one thing, the cats, for example. So other person, probably, also know it, so finally the house will be full of cat's things, and all will be confused in the end.


Framework Laptop 16

Framework Laptop 16

  • CPU:

    • AMD Ryzen™ 7 7840HS
    • AMD Ryzen™ 9 7940HS
  • Memory:

    • DDR5-5600 - 8GB (1 x 8GB)
    • DDR5-5600 - 16GB (2 x 8GB)
    • DDR5-5600 - 16GB (1 x 16GB)
    • DDR5-5600 - 32GB (2 x 16GB)
    • DDR5-5600 - 64GB (2 x 32GB)
    • none - super cool option, RAM can be used from 3rd-party store
  • Storage:

    • WD_BLACK™ SN770 NVMe™- M.2 2280 - 250GB
    • WD_BLACK™ SN770 NVMe™- M.2 2280 - 500GB
    • WD_BLACK™ SN770 NVMe™- M.2 2280 - 1TB
    • WD_BLACK™ SN770 NVMe™- M.2 2280 - 2TB
    • WD_BLACK™ SN850X NVMe™- M.2 2280 - 1TB
    • WD_BLACK™ SN850X NVMe™- M.2 2280 - 2TB
    • WD_BLACK™ SN850X NVMe™- M.2 2280 - 4TB
  • Secondary Storage (for RAID mode)

    • Western Digital SN740 NVMe™ - M.2 2230 - 2TB
  • Expansion Bay Module for GPU

  • Customization options: Keyboard, Numpad module, RGB Macropad module, Bezel, Power Adapter, Expansion Cards

  • Addons: Extra Spacers, Framework Laptop 16 RGB Macropad, Framework Laptop 16 Numpad.

  • Price: from $1400

"This laptop is so thin, we just have to make it without any easily repairable part and full of glue" - how many billions of times have we heard this false justification? Framework proves it - a laptop can be modular and thin at the same time. Four layers of swappable laptop parts and discrete GPU is also possible! All this looks like the next generation of laptops, where customers have many choices to customize many aspects of device specs.

Upgrade options and easy motherboard replacement - all this looks insane on laptop market. "We created super cool laptop, buy it now! Oh, you can also choose a better SSD." - That won't work anymore.

The right to repair moment is also important. Why throw things in the trash or put them on ebay when you can just upgrade them? Buy a better camera, a different bezel, or a next-gen wifi module. Yes, this can easily be done with more money for the hardware vendor, but sometimes it can be done right.

TUXEDO Sirius 16 Gen1

Tuxedo Sirius 16 Gen 1

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 7840HS (8 cores | 16 threads)
  • GPU: AMD Radeon RX 7600M XT 8GB
  • Memory: 16, 32 and 64GB DDR5 SO-DIMM
  • Storage: 500 GB, 1 or 2 TB Samsung 980 PRO or 970 Evo Plus, 1, 2, 4 TB Samsung 990 Pro, 1, 2, 4 TB Crucial P3 Plus
  • WIFI & Bluetooth: AMD RZ608 Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax | 2.4, 5 & 6 GHz | Bluetooth 5.2) or Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX210 (802.11ax | 2.4, 5 & 6 GHz | Bluetooth 5.3
  • Price: from €1.699,00

Top Linux first gaming laptop as it is! Built entirely on AMD from top to bottom, this system looks very promising. For people who don't want to compromise on performance, the Ryzen 9 version is available.

In terms of hardware, Tuxedo has taken a very balanced approach with the Sirius 16. 16-inch laptops aren't exactly tiny, but with a thickness of just 22mm, they're not nearly as bulky as some higher-end machines. The AMD RX 7600M XT also limits performance, but it's not a slow GPU by any means, and it's the same graphics card used in some of the latest dedicated GPUs. The 7600M XT graphics card is a good fit for a 16-inch gaming machine like the Sirius 16, as not everyone wants a massive gaming laptop.

Thanks to Valve and their Steam Deck, mobile AMD GPU solutions work very well with Linux. The famous Handheld Gaming PC is also powered by an AMD APU using the RDNA 2 architecture, one version behind the RDNA 3 architecture in the 7600M XT, and has done much to pave the way for Linux gaming performance.

Starlabs Starfighter

Starlabs Starfighter

  • Display:
    • 16-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit matte display with IPS technology, 3840x2400 resolution and 16:10 aspect ratio
    • 16-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit matte display with IPS technology, 2560x1600 resolution and 16:10 aspect ratio
  • CPU:
    • 1.20GHz 6-core Intel® Core™ i3-1315U up to 4.50GHz, with 10MB Cache
    • 1.70GHz 10-core Intel® Core™ i7-1355U up to 5.00GHz, with 12MB Cache
    • 3.80GHz 8-core AMD Ryzen™ 7 7840HS, up to 5.10GHz, with 16MB L3 Cache
  • Storage: 512GB Gen4 PCIe SSD, 1TB Gen4 PCIe SSD, 2TB Gen4 PCIe SSD
  • Memory: up to 64GB DDR5 5200 MHz
  • Price: from $1,830.00

4K display, open source Coreboot bootloader, 3.1 pound weight and Intel i7 or Ryzen 7 CPU, 18 hours of battery life. The price is not cheap, but it is definitely worth it.

Most importantly, it can be configured to ship with a choice of several different GNU/Linux distributions instead of Windows, which sets it apart from most other laptops. Some things that aren't so obvious from the photos are that the laptop has a kill switch that turns off all wireless capabilities when you're not using it. A webcam is also optional.

Probably the only sad thing here is that the RAM is soldered in, so the user can't upgrade it later. Star Labs also notes that while the Intel-powered versions of the laptop have Thunderbolt ports, the AMD version's USB-C ports only support USB 3.2 Gen 2 speeds (up to 10 Gbps).

An option to install the free and open source Coreboot firmware will also be available on the Intel models. Customers may have to wait a while to replace their proprietary BIOS with Coreboot for AMD models.

Mini PCs

HP Z2 Mini G9 Workstation Wolf Pro Security Edition

HP Z2 Mini G9 Workstation Wolf Pro Security Edition

  • CPU:
    • Intel® Core™ i7 13700 5.2 GHz
    • Intel® Core™ i9 13900 5.6 GHz
    • Intel® Core™ i5 13500 4.8 GHz
  • GPU:
    • Integrated: Intel® UHD Graphics 770
    • Discrete: NVIDIA RTX™️ A2000 (12 GB GDDR6 dedicated)
  • RAM:
    • 16 GB DDR5-6400 MHz RAM (2 x 8 GB)
    • 32 GB DDR5-5600 MHz RAM (2 x 16 GB)
    • 64 GB DDR5-5600 MHz RAM (2 x 32 GB)
  • Storage:
    • 512 GB HP Z Turbo Drive PCIe® NVMe™ TLC M.2 SSD
    • 1 TB HP Z Turbo Drive PCIe® NVMe™ TLC SSD
  • Network: 10Gb Ethernet interface, Intel® Wi-Fi 6E AX211 (2x2) and Bluetooth® 5.3 wireless card (supporting gigabit data rate)
  • Price: $899 for i7/16 GB RAM/512 GB SSD

Wow, this Mini PC looks like a real Apple competitor! Really solid chassis, i7/i9 CPU options, Wi-Fi 6E, 1TB SSD - these components deliver excellent performance in graphics-intensive applications, making it an ideal choice for power users, professional designers or developers. In addition, the system's small form factor and mounting options make it perfect for situations where desktop space is limited. If the built-in graphics isn't enough, the dedicated solution with NVidia card looks very interesting. All levels of protection are provided in the BIOS, browser and beyond with HP Wolf Security Suite.

This system is well suited for CAD, SolidWorks, Blende and other demanding applications. It is also affordable, with a starting price of $899 for the i7 CPU model. The system's performance, features and price make it a great choice for students or professionals looking for a powerful and compact workstation.

Dell OptiPlex Micro Form Factor

Dell OptiPlex Micro Form Factor

  • CPU:
    • 13th Gen Intel® Core™ i5-13500T (24 MB cache, 14 cores, 20 threads, 1.60 GHz to 4.60 GHz Turbo, 35W)
    • 13th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-13700T (30 MB cache, 16 cores, 24 threads, 1.40 GHz to 4.80 GHz Turbo, 35W)
      GPU: Intel Xe Integrated GPU
    • 16 GB: 1 x 16 GB, DDR5
    • 8 GB: 1 x 8 GB, DDR5
  • Storage:
    • 512 GB, M.2 2230, PCIe NVMe, SSD, Class 35
    • 256 GB, M.2 2230, PCIe NVMe, SSD, Class 35
  • Network: Intel® Wi-Fi 6E AX211, 2x2, 802.11ax, Bluetooth® wireless card, internal antenna, 1 RJ45 Ethernet port
  • Price: $789 / $669

There are two versions: Micro Plus and Micro. We will focus on Plus version, here are the main differences: Plus comes with DDR5 memory, USB-C port and 3 Display Port outputs. The Micro version doesn't have USB-C port and provides only one Display Port.

I'd say that these Mini-PCs with Intel vPro® Enterprise support are mainly designed for businesses, but can also seriously improve your home lab. The CPUs are limited to 65W TDP, 180W/135W power supplies are included. If you don't need fast DDR5 memory, you can save ~$200 and buy the cheaper model.

The size is 7.2 x 1.4 x 7 inches, which is quite small, enough to be pick up in one hand - 2.95 pounds heavy. Bigger than a router, but still impressive for a device with mobile Intel i7 CPU. The case made from recycled plastic and closed-loop materials, so ecology activists have no reason to be nervous. This SFF has Energy Star 8.0 and TCO 9.0 certifications, ideal to be a mini server. The front panel includes USB-C 3.2 Gen2x2 (20Gbps), a USB 3.2 Gen 2 with Power Share, which supports charging another devices on powered off SFF, 3.5 audio jack and line-in & line-out jacks. The ports on the back of this Plus model include three DisplayPort 1.4 ports, three USB 3.2 ports, and an Ethernet port. You can order a model with DisplayPort, VGA or USB-C instead of the HDMI port. One USB 3.2 connector supports Smart Power On, which is extremely important on a small desktop like this - it provides the device power on option from a keyboard plugged into the same port.

Raptor Blackbird

Raptor Blackbird

  • CPU: 8-core IBM POWER9 v2 CPU, 160W TDP
  • Memory: 2 DDR4 ECC up to 128 GB RAM
  • GPU: recommended - Sapphire Radeon R9 Nano or Powercolor Fighter Radeon RX 6600 XT
  • Storage: 4 SATA3 ports and 1 PCIe 4.0 x8
  • Price: $3,556.73

Time to uncover the special suggestion in this post.
This is not an x86 compatible device, it's an IBM POWER9 machine, for desktop and server solutions. So Windows isn't possible here. The bootloader is open source, also missing Intel ME and AMD PSP - what a tragedy!

The POWER9-based are built on 14nm process, supports 8, 12 and 24 cores. Even the seventh fastest supercomputer is based on Power 9.

Raptor Blackbird is equipped with two Broadcom Gigabit Ethernet ports and 4 USB 3.0 ports.


Buffalo WXR-5950AX12 - two 10 Gigabit ports!

Buffalo WXR-5950AX12

Powerful monster with two 10 Gigabit ports and a mass of 1.6 kg, made in Japan. Wow! The most powerful device in this review and worth every penny. It'a available in Amazon Japan and Holland at the moment of writing, but I have no doubts that this device will be available worldwide soon.

The wireless interface equipped with Qualcomm IPQ8074 with 1024 QAM, MU-MIMO, OFDMA and uplink scheduling.

OpenWrt experience is seamless: user need a TFTP server, image file and hold WPS button. No rooting, exploiting or whatever else magic required.

Buffalo WXR-5950AX12 supports dual-boot: one working image, the second is for upgrade or backup. This feature is very good for stable user experience when "something goes wrong, what to do?" happens.

ZyXEL EX5601-T0 with GPON (Fiber)

ZyXEL EX5601-T0

Fiber support with Wi-Fi 6 says it all: this device is perfect as a gateway. And solid 512 MB NAND storage with USB 3.1 support only adds points to this device. LAN and WAN are equipped with 2.5 GbE switches - what I wanted to see in another devices. If there will be external antennas we will get the ideal Wi-Fi 6 device.

GL.iNet GL-MT6000

GL.iNet GL-MT6000

The first Mediatek device here and with 8GB storage! These guys aren't trying to save a few pennies on the storage. Detachable antennas are a huge plus, the minus - there are only four of them. Overall, the price is good for people who wants a big compact device.

Wireguard speed - up tp 900 Mbps according to OpenWrt forum.


  • Amazon Basics Low-Profile Wired USB Keyboard - The inexpensive keyboard from Amazon, but surprisingly well designed and equipped with Fn key and multimedia keys, equipped with low-profile keys and provide a quiet typing experience.
  • Keychron K8 Pro QMK/VIA Wireless Mechanical Keyboard - wireless mechanical low-profile keyboard, allows anyone to master any keyboard keys or macro commands through VIA, users can hotswap with any MX mechanical switch in a breeze. It also supports connecting up to 3 devices.


  • Fairphone - check out advanced review here.
  • Murena Teracube 2e - modular design, 4000mAh replaceable battery, 6.1" IPS display, octa-core MediaTek Helio A25, 4 GB RAM, 64 GB internal storage, microSD card slot - all for $329.90.
  • Google Pixel 7 with support of degoogled CopperheadOS (non-free) or CalyxOS - 6.3" 2K display, 8 GB RAM, 128/256GB storage, 50 MP/12MP cameras, non-removable 4355 mAh battery, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2.


  • AzireVPN - privacy-friendly VPN with native IPv6, supports Wireguard VPN and port forwarding (ideal for torrenting). Available on all popular OS and offers multiple locations: Canada, Spain, Norway, Sweden, UK, USA and more.

  • Riseup - Riseup is well known privacy service. Personal VPN designed for censorship circumvention, location anonymization and traffic encryption. does not store any logs. Another critical point - there's no registration or configuration, just install the client and click on connect button.


  • No starch press - the American publishing company that specializes in technical literature, often aimed at the subcultures of the geek, the hacker, and the do-it-yourselfer.
  • Humble Bundle Hacking 2023 - the 18-book library dedicated to hacking, in-depth aspects of cybersecurity, social engineering, and many other interesting thing
  • The Pragmatic Bookshelf - by developers from developers, the big store full books for all kinds of software development: gaming, web dev, cloud, networking and many more.


  • SAMSUNG 980 SSD 1TB PCle 3.0x4, NVMe M.2 2280 - super reliable drive from Samsung for $90: 3,500MB/s Seq. reads, 3,000MB/s Seq. writes, 600 TBW, AES 256-bit Full Disk Encryption, 5 years limited warranty.

  • Kioxia 1TB SSD XG6 M.2 2280 PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe - 3D TLC (3-bit-per-cell) flash memory,sequential read/write speeds of 3180 MB/s and 2960 MB/s respectively, deliver up to 355,000 random read and 365,000 random write IOPS, consuming 4.7 W in active mode and 3mW in standby, reliability - up to 1,500,000 hours. Kioxia also provides Software-enabled Flash SDK for Linux, check the details here.


  • Seagate BarraCuda 6TB - 6TB for $129, low noise 5400 rpm, write speed - 220MB/s, read speed - 250MB/s.

  • Toshiba N300 6TB NAS 3.5 - drive from Toshiba for exactly the same price. Designed to operate 24/7, high performance 7200 RPM drive, high reliability with up to 180TB/year workload, integrated RV sensors to compensate for rotational vibrations.


  • HyperX Cloud III – Wired Gaming Headset - 53mm drivers, the mic is noise cancelling and has a built-in mesh filter, DTS Spatial Audio is nice for 3D sound. Nice gear for $106.
  • SteelSeries New Arctis Nova 3 Multi-Platform Gaming Headset Dual Mic - 360-degree spatial audio, compatible with Tempest 3D Audio for PS5 and Microsoft Spatial Sound, rotating earcups with AirWeave memory foam cushions and an elastic band, AI-powered noise-canceling microphone, dynamic customizable RGB lighting, 10-band parametric EQ. Price is almost the same - $100.


  • Panasonic RP-HJE125E-W Ergofit Design Headphones - Who says cheap ~$10 earbuds are bad? I was shocked how good these headphones were the first time I tried them! Frequency response is 10Hz - 24 kHz, driver unit - φ 9mm, max input - 200mW. Price - $10.
  • JVC Gumy - another very popular and affordable headphone from JVC. Powerful sound with deep bass and clean treble, frequency response is 10- 20000Hz. Highly recommended for everyday use.


  • Blue Yeti USB Microphone - great microphone from the legendary company. Custom three-capsule array, flexible cardioid, omni, bi-directional and stereo pickup patterns, onboard audio controls with mute and headphone volume - nice features and worth every penny for this perfect piece of equipment. Price - $70.
  • HyperX SoloCast – USB Condenser Gaming Microphone - another interesting microphone from HyperX at the same price. The device is equipped with USB-C interface, cardioid polar pattern, tap-to-mute sensor, supports Hi-Res 24-bit/96 kHz recording and boom arm and mic stand threading. The device is designed for podcast streaming, voiceovers and musical instruments.

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