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There's been a lot of useful discussion, thanks. I've decided I'm not
going to rev the spec again. I believe it has been demonstrated that it
is technically feasible to provide named characters without touching XML
by using an alternative encoding of Unicode. Many good technical points
have been made but none came close to "it can't be done." This leaves
the question of whether it *should* be done. At this point the
head-count in the "contra" column is larger than in the "pro" column,
among those who speak up at least.
Honestly, I'm not sure which column I'm in.
I am *quite* sure that there is no realistic prospect of adding entity
declaration to any of the modern schema facilities, or of somehow
shoehorning it into XML itself in a DTD-less way.
If there is an sudden groundswell of opinion from some substantial group
of people saying "we need this" AND some indication from the
implementors' camp that they're apt to actually implement it, I'd be
glad to undertake the (small amount of) work required to polish up the
draft and incorporate the many cogent technical points that have been
Cheers, Tim Bray (http://www.tbray.org/ongoing/)