<rant>To be very blunt, Thawte went downhill ever since VeriSign took over. I'm sure things would be different with Mark Shuttleworth still heading the company.</rant>
I also did not receive any official information from Thawte yet about this. I guess they figured we read today's Internet newspapers anyway.
Many of us Thawte WOT Notaries became CAcert ECCP Assurers during the last couple of years. While CAcert.org is a community-driven certificate authority that issues free public key certificates to the public, it still lacks inclusion of its root certificate in most popular browsers. I do however strongly think there is a need for this kind of service, as no communication is ever going to be really safe unless we all use encryption. It is way to easy to spot the important emails nowadays.
I'm must also admit that less people are interested by the technology - and WOT notaries assert less people each year - mainly due to the complexity of PKI implementations in popular email packages.
<product_placement>I hope efforts like the Comodo/DigitalPersona Privacy Manager product to make it easier for people to use PKI, revive the identity security awareness with people.</product_placement>
More info from Thawte's Wikipedia page:
Thawte Notaries have been submitting minimal information to the Gossamer Spider Web of Trust ("GSWoT"; a grass-roots OpenPGP PKI) for safe-keeping in hopes to increase the longevity of their earned trust points. The collaborative effort aims to bind Thawte Notary names and email addresses to their now-existing entry on Thawte's Web of Trust Notary Map. Thawte Notaries from within and without GSWoT are performing the validations. The initiative will bear no fruit if Thawte Notaries fail to find or create a WoT that will recognize their former status as a Thawte Web of Trust Notary. The Thawte Notary EOL List on GSWoT will die in one year's time - on November 16, 2010.