I'm ridiculously happy that they are doing this. There are two aspects of my gaming nature that suffer serious compatibility issues:
- I'm an open-source kind of guy and I like my games to embrace that philosophy
- I'm a D&D whore. Period. No matter what other games I look at, post about, or fawn over, D&D is my THING. With the exception of Moldvay/Cook B/X, I have snapped up every edition as soon as availability and finances allowed. It's who I am, it's what I do.
So, releasing the Basic rules free (at least as in beer, not much word about an OGL at this point) is a bold stride toward being able to resolve these opposing forces in my gaming psyche.
By the way, I also pre-ordered the PHB. Unfortunately, I am at my math limit for the weekend, so a countdown to that release is currently unavailable.