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Minecraft hasn't been free until now.

Minecraft Classic was free for a long time, it's just that it was taken offline at one point.

(Note, Minecraft Classic ≠ "Minecraft Java" or whatever they're calling the primary pre-Microsoft PC version now)

> Minecraft Classic ≠ "Minecraft Java

It kind of is. Survival was added Java Edition Classic, then was spun out into its own version with Java Edition Indev. The modern Java version is a descendant of Indev.

I guess, but they kept up "Minecraft Classic" for many years as a separate (and free) thing. And I'm pretty sure this is just Minecraft Classic again.

More of a technicality than the reality, Minecraft Classic is like a crude prototype compared to the years of additions that make up the current version of Minecraft (Java or Bedrock).

There is Minecraft for raspberry pi edition which comes free with the standard raspbian desktop image. My daughter loves it. It ties in with the education stuff in that it has a python API. For the rest it is more limited compared to normal Minecraft.

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