The Dungeons & Dragons PDFs are available once again (as previously noted), and this is cause for celebration in the Old School Renaissance community, but there is something else to celebrate for those of us who care about the roots of our hobby. Not only are PDFs of products from all editions being rolled out, not only are they improved in quality and functionality according to reports, but the product descriptions of the PDFs include their product history (at least for those I've seen). Product history, in this case, means not only the publication history of the product, but its significance in the history of D&D (and consequently the history of role-playing games). These product histories were written by Shannon Appelcline, author of Designers & Dragons, and they provide invaluable insight into the story of the industry and the hobby. If they at Wizards of the Coast wanted to convince me of their sincerity, this demonstration of respect for the game's heritage has done so. Whether or not I decide to use D&D Next, I am reassured that everyone's favorite flavor of D&D will remain available so gamers can make their own choice. Will this curb my appetite for OSR products including retro-clones? No, but it does mean I can mix and match with greater ease and reconnect with the products that brought me into this hobby.
Thank you, WOTC.
[Edit: It's amazing how a typographical error consisting of a single character ("." instead of ">") can foul up an entire post. In the future I'll preview my articles before scheduling them for posting at a later date. In the words of Agent 86, "Sorry about that, chief."]