Tim Bray reports that Sun is interested in an oxymoron - binary XML:
There are a lot of people at Sun who are convinced that some sort of binary XML representation is a good idea. I've never been convinced, but they're serious; they've drafted a proposal and are working on getting it standardized; informally it's called the "Fast Infoset" and officially it's "ITU-T Rec. X.891 | ISO/IEC 24824-1". I've been particularly dubious because it's built on ASN.1, which I've had bad experiences with. But those mostly had to do with broken or unavailable software, and that objection may be moot, because as Eduardo Pelegri-Llopart writes, they're shipping an Open Source implementation. Eduardo also tells me they're getting lots of interest from outside of Sun. Hey, as long as whenever someone tells me "I interchange XML" that means they're willing to interchange streams of Unicode characters with angle brackets, I'm OK.
Binary XML... hey, wait a sec - if we wanted efficient data transfer, couldn't we have stayed with, oh I don't know - an existing standard - IIOP maybe? The supposed point of XML is that it's textual. If you're going to lose that, why invent a new protocol? Do the folks at Sun just have way, way too much free time on their hands?