Pay what you want for Kiddix OS

From Microsoft Bob to Edubuntu there have been a number of attempts at making computers of various sorts easier and more useful for young people. Another participant in this space is Kiddix, “a complete operating system and software environment for children, built from the ground up with your family’s needs and safety in mind.” Kiddix is built upon Linux, and aims to present things in a very “kid friendly” way. Through the end of June, Kiddix is running a “Pay What You Want” promotion, allowing you to pay any amount to buy their OS.

I admit I’d never heard of Kiddix before. From the Kiddix FAQ:

Q: I’ve used Edubuntu, Qimo, or another “kids” Linux distribution. How is Kiddix different?
A: Simply put, we don’t aim to be a “Linux for kids”. Instead, we utilize Linux and Open Source Software as a base for providing children with a full operating system designed just for them. As far as we know, Kiddix is, and has been, the the only OS on the market exclusively designed from the ground up for children.

Inside Kiddix we offer a fully customized desktop environment for children that has been designed with the help of parents, teachers, and development psychologists. Children have access to a wide variety of software which has all been customized to be used by children ages 4-11. Also included are many acclaimed open source applications, games, and educational material.

Simplicity and ease of use for both children and parents is a primary focus of our software design. On the backend parents have access to a variety of comprehensive and easy-to-use parental controls.

I’m a Linux user, so the value proposition of paying for Kiddix is not clear to me: when something like Edubuntu is free (as in beer), why would I pay for something similar? The Kiddix World magazine concept seems like a good idea, and might have been worth paying for, but it’s been discontinued. Maybe I’m being overly critical, but it doesn’t seem to me that Kiddix has sufficiently explained why I should pay anything for their OS.

Of course, not all parents are familiar with Linux, or the Free Software mentality, so perhaps Kiddix is sufficiently turnkey to make this a good choice for them. And the “Pay What You Want” promotion makes it a low-risk decision.

If you’ve used Kiddix, sound off in the comments about your experience.