XHTML 2.0 considered harmful

The web standards microcosm is shaking, after Mark Pilgrim's coup de gueule à propos XHTML 2.0. According to Zeldman's scale, it's a small web-quake. Tantek Çelik asks why XHTML? and wishes the W3C would spend more time in cleaning after itself in HTML4 and XHTML1. He made the point to the W3C html public list, and the still growing thread that resulted, along with new comments from Eric Meyer, and past comments by David Glazman, show that there are strong divergence of opinions about the future of HTML. Before you rank this as geek fights or much ado about nothing, consider this: in your digital life, semantic markup is eventually going to be around all your content. This is comparable as a standard body defining the format of Word/PPT/Excel documents as the standard office file format and all office suites out there have to use it and align their features on it. On an average year, I produce only a dozen documents using an office suite, but about 10,000 documents formatted to some sort of Internet standard (I include email in that) pass through my email clients, web browsers and web authoring tools. The standard format has to be darn good! However, the level of this debate is rather depressing, with irreconcilable views such as deprecation vs. no forward compatibility, or tech purists despising brainless content authors (spot the geeks in the W3C list). I hope it gets clarified before a new standard is cast in stone. Even more depressing is seing Mark going back to HTML4.01!