10 last-minute gift ideas for Linux geeks

It may be better to give than it is to receive, but that doesn’t mean geeks the world over don’t have virtual sugarplums dancing through their heads.

Of course, if it’s a Linux geek you’re trying to please, no i-gadget or Thing 7 is likely to do the trick. Fans of free and open-source software (FOSS) are a breed apart, so you’ll have to choose carefully to win their hearts.

If there’s an open source aficionado on your Christmas shopping list, then read on for a hand-picked assortment of ideas.

1. The Tux Mug

The Linux.com store is a great place to start your FOSS-filled shopping travels, not least because of its elegant Tux Mug, around $9.

“Perfect for those quiet nights when you are sitting in your robe and watching ‘The Code’,” as the store’s description notes.

2. The Linux Cheat Shirt

It’s hard to go wrong at ThinkGeek, where there’s a virtual treasure trove of ideas for geeks of every variety.

One of my favorites is the Linux Cheat Shirt, which not only features assorted Linux commands, but it displays them *upside-down* for easy viewing by the wearer. Handy for job interviews and any other occasion where the Linux geek’s knowledge might be put to the test, the shirt starts at $15.

3. Snarky Linux Button

Linux fans are often an opinionated lot, so why not help the one in your life express their true feelings? Nothing will make friends at the office better than this gem that reads, “The box said ‘Requires Windows Vista or better.’ So I installed LINUX.” Priced at $4.

4. Customized Christmas Stocking

CafePress offers another winning array of Linux-related gifts, including a customized Christmas stocking. Guaranteed to befuddle all but those in the mathematical know, this 19-by-9-inch, $12 beauty reads: “There are 10 kinds of people: Those who understand binary, and those who don’t.”

If you’re in the latter group, you’ll need to ask your Linux-head friend to explain.

5. Linux-based Wi-Fi Photo Frame

If you’ve got a shopping budget that’s a bit bigger, then why not consider the iGala Linux-based, Wi-Fi-enabled photo frame? It can be hooked up to Gmail, Flickr or even your private albums. It’s on sale from the elves at ThinkGeek, starting at $200.

6.Samsung Galaxy Tab

OK, now that we’re talking big budgets, you can splurge for what countless Linux geeks secretly yearn for. That’s right, it’s the Galaxy Tab–the Android-powered (and thus superior) alternative to Apple’s iPad. Pricing varies with the carrier.

7. Plush Android Doll

Speaking of Android, if your FOSS friend is a fan–and what open-minded person isn’t?–why not present them with this adorable Android robot doll? It’s available on Etsy for $20.

8. “Android FTW” T-Shirt

Those on the open side of the fence will also no doubt appreciate the subtlety of this clever, $19 T-shirt, which depicts the Android robot taking a bite of an apple. Apple, get it? Ha. Your friend will ROTFL.

9. Computer Engineer Barbie

It may not be an appropriate choice for every Linux lover on your shopping list, but the new Computer Engineer Barbie is too good not to mention. You go girl, Barbie! Bang out that code! She’s even wearing “a funky tee with binary code design.” Pricing is $13.

10. Android-connected concept watch

Shopping almost done now? Then let’s start thinking ahead to next year, when we can only hope Fossil’s drool-worthy Android-connected watch will be available. Cue the sugarplums for 2011!

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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