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A well-intentioned attempt to make XML less exclusive to certain ethic groups actually risks causing breakage for those it's intended to help.source [theregister.co.uk]
XML co-inventor Tim Bray and others have raised a last-minute objection to the planned XML Fifth Edition working its way through the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). They say it could make it harder to program with or parse some legacy XML documents.
"programmers writing in scripts such as Amharic or Cherokee, which have been added since then [1998, when XML 1.0 was created], can't use their characters in tag or attribute names."
also see Tim Bray's reaction [tbray.org]
the change introduces an inconsistency between XML 1.0 and XML Namespaces 1.0, which is intolerable. They have to be either revised together or not at all.source [tbray.org]
That whitespace IBM episode seems like a sore topic among XML RFCgazers. Keep in mind the type of personality who pays attention to all the granular details of XML specs - that's the same personality to whom those things would matter, a LOT.