Dan Fernandez, lead product manager for the Visual Studio Express product line has confirmed today that Visual Studio Express (in all its incarnations) will remain free. Excellent move:

"You’ve helped make Visual Studio Express a runaway hit, and we’re proud to announce that in the five months since its launch, Express has been downloaded over 5 million times!"

5 million downloads? Wow. Dan also has links to some new starter kit content worth checking out.

Even cooler? The following was pointed out by one of the comments on the Beta News article. From the Express Edition FAQ:

"4. Can I use Express Editions for commercial use?

Yes, there are no licensing restrictions for applications built using the Express Editions."

Whee!

And yet another thing to note. If you're looking for a free database to program against, then be reminded that you can download SQL Server 2005 Express Edition, again for free.