Linux holiday gift guide 2015

For that special Linux nerd in your life, here are the best products to shop for this holiday shopping season.

linux holiday gifts 1
Give the gift of Linux

Regardless of which of the various winter holidays you happen to celebrate, one thing remains certain: you’re going to be buying someone a present (possibly even yourself). And you’d really like it to be running Linux. Because you’re awesome. And that’s what awesome people would like. What follows are, what I consider to be, the most fun and/or interesting Linux-powered gadgets that would make awesome gifts this year. In order, from cheapest to… significantly less cheap. Let us begin.

Raspberry Pi 2 reviews holiday deals
Raspberry Pi 2

Let’s address the (super-duper small and cheap) elephant in the room right off the bat – the Raspberry Pi 2. If you know a nerd (any nerd) who doesn’t have one of these, then this is the present to get them. Nobody of sufficient nerdiness would be bummed about getting their first Raspberry Pi. A tiny, low-powered computer that you can connect to your TV and play Minecraft? For 35 bucks? Done.

Pocket C.H.I.P. reviews pre-orders
Pocket C.H.I.P.

While we’re talking about things that are tiny and cheap, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Pocket C.H.I.P. Imagine a Raspberry Pi. In the rough shape of a Nintendo Gameboy. With a color touchscreen. And a thumb keyboard. Oh, and it looks like it was built in a mad-scientist’s lab. For $49. The only downside is it’s only in pre-order mode. And, last I heard, we’re looking at sometime after May for shipping.

Amazon Fire 7-inch tablet reviews holiday deals
Amazon's Fire 7-inch

At 99 cents more expensive than the Pocket C.H.I.P. we have Amazon’s 7-inch tablet. Does it have the best screen ever? No. Is it the highest-performance tablet? Definitely not. And it doesn’t run stock Android (which is kind of a pain). But it’s pretty darn good. Especially for 50 bucks. Amazon’s commercials suggest it’s so cheap you’ll probably want to buy one for every room of the house. While I wouldn’t go that far, those commercials were right that this would make a good dedicated bathroom tablet.

Mycroft reviews Linux Amazon Echo smart home
Mycroft

The Linux-powered Mycroft is sort of like an adorable, Open Source, upgradeable version of the Amazon Echo. Tell it to play some music – by, you know, just speaking the words – and it does it for you. Pretty cool. Like the Pocket C.H.I.P., it’s currently taking pre-orders, for $154.

Nvidia Shield TV reviews Linux gaming system
Nvidia Shield TV

A $200 set top box, running Android TV, capable of streaming Netflix, HBO, Hulu, and a bunch of other such services. The Nvidia Shield TV comes with a high-quality, wireless gaming controller – turning this into a high-powered Android-based game console.

Google's Nexus 9 tablet reviews holiday deals
Nexus 9 tablet

For a nice, big, pure Android tablet, the Google Nexus 9 is pretty fantastic. Fast. Nice screen. Clocks in at $1 shy of $400. Add another $129 for the magnetic keyboard cover, which turns this 9-inch tablet into a tiny little laptop.

Google Pixel C tablet reviews holiday deals
Pixel C

Clocking in at the exact same price as Google’s Nexus 9 is Google’s soon-to-be-released Pixel C. A 10-inch tablet with a majorly high-res screen and some seriously beefy specs, this one has a $150 keyboard dock (that has full-sized keys) that turn it into even more of a full-fledged laptop than the Nexus 9. Not gonna lie. I want one.

System76 Serval Workstation Linux laptop reviews
System76 Serval Workstation Laptop

People give each other $2,000 laptops… right? Well, they should. Especially ones like these. This laptop is the ultimate in excess. It’s not light. It’s not thin. It has a power brick the size of Chicago. But it’s also decked out with a desktop-class i7 processor, up to 8GB of video RAM (64GB of system RAM), and configurations with up to several TB of hard drive space. This “laptop” would be killer for scientific computing – but, who are we kidding, we’d all just use it to play games. (Oh, and it ships with Ubuntu pre-installed.)