Thanks to Wil Wheaton for posting this info on his blog, where I learned about it.
WotC is offering official, completely free .pdf of their quickstart rules and Keep on the Shadowfell (H1). In addition, you can download a free trial version (Allows for levels 1-3) of their Character Builder. I suggest you get them all now.
And now, the cynic in me will take the reins from the helpful plagarist.
I smell . . . well, I'm not sure what the term is. It's not a scam, it's not necessarily a compromise for discontinuing all .pdf sales either. It's bait. That's what it is.
I'm sure the Character Builder will be cool to play with, but my party is already at level 4, so it's useless at the moment and certainly will not get me to subscribe to D&D Insider. Wonder if it can be cracked . . .
As for the .pdf's, I just don't see this as being quite enough to deflect the ire among their fans and customers. Additionally, there is no information - at least not on the 'news' page where you can download all these freebies - about getting more .pdf's. Maybe some of the more hardcore RPG-newshounds will have a lead on that.
So the bait appears to be there, tied to the end of a string - but no hook. May as well eat while the eatin's good, I guess.