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> When people complain about namespaces, do they mean that namespaces should
> not exist at all? Do they think they are useless? Or do they think they
> should be replaced by something else? Or do they have in mind some simple
> changes to the syntax, such as using URI/localname pairs everywhere?
Namespaces in some form definitely need to exist, and I rarely see reason to believe to the contrary. They certainly are not useless, as they facilitate componentized schemas. At this point, I question replacing them, since so much existing infrastructure is built on them.
The problem is that when a customer writes "a:b", every app/api/xml-spec has a slightly different set of rules for how to resolve that name that matches. (writing "b" is even worse...). Few, if any of these match the na´ve notion that it should match XML tag-names written "a:b". An experienced developer gets used to the fact that the mental model for how to resolve prefixed names is different for XML element names, attribute names, DOM level-1 method calls, DOM XPath queries, XSLT, and XSD... but that takes a while and that level of complexity has caused many problems. We can't expect every developer to be a XML expert, but that is what is necessary to write a robust XML app using today's standards.