Ends up this comment from my initial look at TextWrangler is no longer true:
And so today is the first day since BBEdit 2.1 shipped in April 1992 that there is not a free version of BBEdit available.
Bare Bones has changed their policy (or at least clarified it): while BBEdit Lite is no longer being developed or supported, it is still available, legally, and apparently always will be. According to a Bare Bones press release yesterday (not yet on their web site):
Although BBEdit Lite is no longer developed or supported by Bare Bones Software, it remains readily obtainable, under the terms of its existing license agreement, through several software update sites. Anyone currently using the software is welcome to continue doing so, in accordance with the existing license agreement. Additionally, anyone may obtain a copy of BBEdit Lite to conduct their own side-by-side comparison with the fully functional demo of TextWrangler at http://www.barebones.com/products/bblite/.
Also new is a comparison page showing what is different between TextWrangler and BBEdit Lite.
Just to prove I wasn’t smoking crack when I wrote the above eulogy for BBEdit Lite, a comparison between yesterday’s update to the BBEdit Lite web page and the version in my local cache from a few days ago shows the difference:
Today (1 March):
Thank you for your interest in BBEdit Lite. BBEdit Lite has been discontinued and is no longer being developed or supported. Anyone currently using the software is welcome to continue doing so, in accordance with the existing license agreement….
Thank you for your interest in BBEdit Lite. As of February 25, 2003, BBEdit Lite has been discontinued and is no longer available….
Version 6.1.2 is still available for download on their FTP site, as are versions 4.6, 4.1, and even version 3.5, for you holdouts still clinging to System 6.