If its any consolation in this discussion I wrote a little HTML test to
see how browsers deal with these white space (and some line height)
issues. To mimic the XSL-FO situation I used only <div> and <span>. You
can see the results here:
I viewed this page with IE 6, Firefox and Opera under Windows and
Firefox and Konqueror under Linux. There are differences in rendering
some subtle / some quite significant between all 5 browser variants.
Although IE stands out in doing it "most differently" than the rest. If
they cannot sort out white space handling (and line height) in HTML
(billions of users, designers, spec writers, reviewers, ...) how should
we have a chance :-)?