Hell is freezing over! Pigs are flying! PAUP* is getting updated for the first time in twelve years!
Jokes aside, this is great news. PAUP*, short for Phylogenetic Analysis Using Parsimony (* and other methods), is one of the best known software tools for phylogenetics. Indeed to me it is pretty much the phylogenetic software tool. Yes, depending on the task at hand I also use TNT, RAxML, Mesquite, MrBayes and BEAST with various of its add-ons, but PAUP* is the one I started out with while writing my thesis and it is still the one I feel most comfortable using.
Another major issue is what you can and cannot do with the various programs. The downside of PAUP*, or at least of the previous version, is that it is comparatively slow. So if you have a large dataset with many taxa, you are better off using TNT for parsimony and RAxML for likelihood analyses. But PAUP* can do various kinds of analyses that no other software can do; for example, I would not know how to conduct a Templeton test without it.
(My experience with PHYLIP is limited. Maybe it can do some of the same things. The problem is that its combination of rather excessive modularity and a call centre style user interface - on the lines of "press 3 for this kind of analysis" - has put me off using it so far.)
So over the past few years I have sometimes worried about the day when PAUP* would suddenly stop working on the newest computers. It is good to know that a new version is coming up!
The idea is that ultimately there will be GUIs for Win and Mac that one has to buy, but that command line versions for Win, Mac and Linux will be free. I guess I will be happy to use command line myself, but it might be a good idea to get a GUI licence for small student projects where the student cannot necessarily be expected to learn the PAUP* commands.