Why XML is so ugly and verbose?
First of all it is important to note that XML is not meant to be edited as is by the masses. Just as a database is not meant to be updated from a command line or a report to be written editing a .doc file in a text editor.
Then verbosity is precisely the interesting point in XML. If the tags are smartly defined, anyone with a little knowledge in XML will be able to open a source file, and immediately tell what it deals about. He will be able to quickly write a transformer to translate it to any SGML-like language.
Finally, the fact that it takes a lot of place is no more a problem given the storage capacity currently available, as well as effective compressing programs.