Submit A Tip Alternative Tip Form

The Ultimate Ubuntu Xmas Gift Guide (Updated)

With the annual holiday gift buying period now very much upon us, thousands of folk the world over will be glancing at the Linux-loving people in their lives and scratching their heads, bereft of gift ideas. 

No one wants to buy a loved one a duff present so, to help, we’ve put together a quick list of some Linux-y present suggestions to work from. Think of it as a spring board rather than a comprehensive run-down; a starting point from which to explore.

Stocking Fillers

merch

A spare and spacious USB drive will always come in handy, especially around April and October. As they are both cheap and small they make ideal, if impersonal, stocking fillers.

16GB thumb drives can be picked up for as little as £7.50 in the UK, and as little as $8 in the US.

UBN80036

To add a bit more personality to them you could opt for a themed drive based around an interest. Amazon and eBay are just two online retailers where you can find a range of USB sticks designed around memes, cult shows like Doctor Who and Star Wars, or everyday items like Lego.

Canonical’s online store is another great place to check out if you’re looking for small, stocking-sized accessories that will go down well with Ubuntu fanatics over the festive period. They offer everything from Ubuntu-branded pens and pads to sticker sheets and mugs.

Even better, for the festive period they’re offering some great xmas bargain bundles, including a “work set” of mouse mat, pair of coasters, notebook and pen and sticker sheet all for £13.20/$17.45 (excl. P&P).

‘Ubuntu at Work’ Xmas Bundle

The biggest drawback with buying items from the official Canonical shop is the exorbitant postage and packaging charges. For example, for the above mentioned pack, you can expect to pay about £7 p&p in the UK, and between $18-40 to get it sent stateside.

Clothing

UBN11038-1

Digital data receptacles too cold of a gift idea for your liking? Well, warm up in an Ubuntu t-shirt!

Whether you’re wanting to make a statement yourself or just show some support, Canonical stock plenty of designs in their store, with most shirts available in both men’s and women’s cuts/sizes. Prices start from £9.95/$15.79.

Books

madeeasytileThe number of books about Ubuntu continues to grow. In fact, it’s almost dizzying to know where to begin when choosing!

Our top tip for those just getting started with Ubuntu would be Ubuntu Made Easy. We reviewed it last year and concluded that, as introductions go, it’s the most comprehensive and accessible.

For more intermediate reading the Ubuntu Unleashed series by Matthew Helmke makes a great in-depth primer – just be sure to buy a copy that’s aimed at the current version of Ubuntu.

Laptops

Buying a laptop that’s preloaded with Ubuntu is easier than it used to be thanks to Canonical inking deals with manufacturers like Dell, HP, Lenovo and ASUS.

Credit is also due to the expansion and success of smaller, dedicated Linux hardware companies like ZaReason, System76 and ThinkPenguin. While they aren’t able to rival the pricing, range or retail presence of major players like Dell or Lenovo, their focus on ensuring Linux compatibility and support is second to none.

strata7440-front600

ZaReason recently launched a new 14″ laptop dubbed the ‘Strata 7440′. Powered by an i5 Intel Haswell CPU, Intel HD graphics and 4GB of RAM, the notebook costs a competitive $749.

Buy the ZaReason Strata 7440 Laptop

Of course, there’s nothing to stop you from buying a regular “Windows” laptop or ultrabook and installing Ubuntu on it yourself. This route will save you money and give you a wider choice of chassis styles, designs and extras. Touchscreen, anyone?

Not all Windows laptops will work great with Ubuntu/Linux out of the box so it certainly pays to do your research on beforehand. Alternatively, ask around on the Ubuntu Forums, Twitter or the OMG! Ubuntu! Google+ Community for suggestions of notebooks that are known to work well with Ubuntu right from the first power-up.

Steam Gift Card

redeem_code_background_gbpWith graphics drivers continually improving and the number of top-tier titles able to fully utilise them on the increase, it’s no lie to say that gaming on Linux has never been so healthy.

A Steam gift card or “Wallet Code” can make a great gift, particularly if you’re unsure of what specific game to buy someone. You simply pick up a card from Game in the UK, or Gamestop in the US, and top it up with money through the cashier. 

When done, just pop it in an xmas card et voila – instant, easy present. 

Misc Items

Salamander Plush from WWF

Salamander Plush from WWF

Every release of Ubuntu is given an animal codename during development. These ‘mascots’ offer up scope for some great tangental present ideas.

For a conscientious present, the environmental charity WWF offer an ‘Adopt a Salamander‘ gift pack for $50. The bulk of the money goes to supporting conservation, but you also get a little something to show for your money:

  • A 12″ Salamander plush toy
  • Adoption certificate
  • Photo
  • Gift bag

If $50 is too much a cheaper $25 option is also available (albeit without the toy or bag while, for those looking to flash the cash, a $100 version features all of the above but in a beautiful gift box.

Adopt a Salamander from the WWF

Looking ahead to April 2014 and the release of  Ubuntu 14.04 ‘Trusty Tahr’, you could offer an ‘Adopt a Himalayan Tahr‘ gift from the UK’s Edinburgh Zoo. Their adoption scheme is spread across four levels, with the bronze option starting at a gift-tastic £40.

While you won’t get an actual Tahr to keep – real or cuddly – you will get to feel warm and fuzzy in the knowledge that your gift is helping to support the good work of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland.

Adopt a Tahr at Edinburgh Zoo

Don’t forget to share you own Ubuntu or Linux-related gift ideas in the comments below – we’ll add some of the best ones to the post.