Microchip Xc8 License: A Complete Guide for Developers
Microchip picks up the tab for XC8 licensing. If you have an ADC10, you can get XC8 on the cheap ($25US for a SKU license) and use it to develop your own PIC or AVR projects, and the same goes for the XC8L compiler ($75US for a SKU license) if you have a much more sophisticated microcontroller in your project. In fact that same $75 license will work with the XC8L compiler and at least 3 different AVR chips. You can register for the license on the Microchip page by going to the XC8 page on the Microchip site.
Microchip Xc8 Licensel
I also picked Microchip over other compilers and tools, mainly because of the good reputation they have built up with developers through their development tools. I know my project is looking for a good free C compiler, I dont think I want to trust a piece of software that contains a lot of commercial IP. AFAIK, every single Microchip compilers can compile code freely and are open source.
I didnt really see a downside in Microchip picking up the tab for XC8 licensing (contrary to some comments here). I imagine theres no cost for 2nd layer "software/professional" licensing of XC8L.
Very much an 'above and beyond' offering from Microchip. An ideal chipset into which a lot of people will want to plunge. In fact its one of the few Microchip products I can quite understand the appeal of, and im only a few years away from having the need for it...