Wow. I don't know who hadn't bought NetNewsWire yet, but if you haven't, consider your wait vindicated: most of Newsgator's products, including NNW, Newsgator Online, and FeedDemon (the Windows version of the popular RSS reader) have all gone free with version 3.1.
Brent Simmons, NNW's creator, is reportedly happy about the change, to say the least, and Newsgator isn't any less thrilled themselves-- they say that not only are they excited to spread the love around to everyone, but that they'll also be using "attention data" collected from the software (which hopefully sounds more ominous than it is... right?) to "deliver a better experience for everyone." Not so happy might be the folks who've paid for the products in the past-- Newsgator is offering an automatic refund to anyone who purchased them in the past 30 days, but anyone before that just has to live with the fact that they paid $30 to use the software at the time (not that it was a bad deal back then anyway). Those who subscribed to the Newsgator Online service will run out their current subscriptions, and then continue on without charge.
Version 3.1 of NetNewsWire features an updated interface with new toolbar icons, some performance and memory enhancements, and the ability to archive news items as HTML files, viewable in any browser. It is now available, for a completely free download, over on Newsgator's site.