Sounds like a serious threat. Better cave.
It sounds to me like the CEOs have been eating their Wheaties and reading up on their Ayn Rand... Seriously, though, I love how the letter makes it sound like all the brouhaha is coming from a "concerted publicity campaign by some advocacy groups". I just looked at the FCC's public docket for response to Wheeler's previous proposal, and there are at least 10,000 responses. Even my state of Tennessee, not necessarily the most friendly to to Federal regulation, had 500 comments. I looked at a random sampling from TN, and couldn't find one posting with any particular love for the current regime of large ISPs. Words like "oligarchy" and "monopoly" were quite common.
... Websites are now designed with little/no graceful degradation.
Whatever happened to designing for accessibility?
Google appears to have treated this as an API issue. I.e., "the API up to 4.1 was insecure. We now will require method annotations going forward for the JS to execute them." I could care less if backporting this change to earlier versions broke a bunch of apps. It's an easy enough change for those apps to go and insert the explicit annotations. I think Google has made a conscious choice here to not cause apps to break in the name of security, so that their platform can appear to be "more stable".
I read the Slashdot discussion, Ask Slashdot: Self-Hosted Gmail Alternatives. However, I am mainly interested in getting my e-mail traffic away from the fat pipes that the NSA is most likely to be drinking from. I would be willing to consider a high-quality, low-traffic webmail service that might sidestep at least some of the surveillance. Of course, since I subscribe to one of those large ISP's (Comcast), and don't have much other choice in my location, I would need to be able to connect using well-secured SSL in the browser or with POP/IMAP.
Ubuntu's current practice is a 5 year term for LTS. Microsoft's 10 years leads to supporting pretty ancient stuff (in Internet time, anyway). They were forced to extend XP support all the way to 13 years since Vista and Windows 7 can't run reasonably on a lot of the hardware that XP was happy on.
For the previous decade, I personally think 5-8 years somewhere is a good LTS term for operating systems and kernels.
Now that CPU's aren't really getting faster, just more cores and energy efficiency, perhaps 10-20 years may again be reasonable.