Phil Torrone has created the concept of the Open Source Gift Guide (via Linux and Open Source Blog). The idea is to gift something that can allow sharing instead of the same old junk! The post lists some open source projects and invites readers to provide their own. Here is mine.
Nutch provides a transparent alternative to commercial web search engines. Only open source search results can be fully trusted to be without bias. (Or at least their bias is public.) It acts as a monitor on all the proprietary search engines and helps in avoiding monopoly in the search domain. Donate to keep it alive and to help it help us.
K Desktop Environment is one of the best desktop environments available today on Unix type systems. KDE has been innovative and provided meritted technologies like KParts and DCOP that have enabled better development of tools available to us. Donate KDE to help fund their operations.
Gnome, the competitor of KDE, has played an important role of simplifying Linux for the layman. Gnome is free and open source software that is built on a strong development framework which is available on a multitude of platforms. Become a friend.
Wikimedia Foundation is behind Wikipedia – the open information portal. The Wikimedia Foundation Inc. is a non-profit organization with the goal of providing free knowledge to every person in the world. Meeting this goal through the maintenance, development and distribution of free content, Wikimedia relies on public donations to run its wiki-based projects. Help it.
Not exactly software, but Creative Commons provides various range of protections and freedoms for the common man. It provides tool to copyright your work with your choice of reservation. It has worked as a shield for the common man, without any cost. Support the Commons.
7-Zip is a free and open source full fledged archiver program. It features the high compression ration format 7Z with LZMA compression. It also works with standard zip, tar, jar and ar files. It also supports plugins for other formats. Support its development by registering.
is a volunteer organization to promote use and development the OpenDocument Format (ODF). ODF will help us avoiding vendor lock-in by providing a standard format across all office suites. Join the fellowship.
Debian is probably one of the purest free and open source projects out there. It is not only one of the most stable operating systems but it has acted as a source to many others like Ubuntu family and Knoppix. To handle money donations a non-profit organization Software in the Public Interest. Help Debian pay its expenses.
I can probably go on and on. Your donations and gifts can make a difference! I guess there will be many more lists ready. Here is one by Tim O’Reilly. You to make yours, it will at least create an awareness. In today’s software world you will have to try really hard to not use a free and open source software.