This is one of those, you know, or you don't know type of questions, not much of a change on just 'finding' it it seems.
First of, I'm talking about JSP documents, not pages, SUN has clarified this as a difference between xml-valid jsp pages and just plain old-school jsp pages. I'm talking about xml-valid here. In xml the general concensus is to strip all non-essential whitespace while processing a document. Now this is usually not a problem except that I have a desire to debug the output of my document and I would like it to remain human-readable.
From what I found out xml is supposed to have this preserved attribute that is supposed to be valid on all elements, 'xml:space="preserve"'. I'm saying supposed as eclipse is quite happily ignoring you if you add a space='preserve' to any given element, but starts slapping you on the wrist if you add xml:space. Tomcat really gets pissed with you for defining either of them.
So, with the default xml whitespace preservation out of the window, the question remain, how do I preserve whitespace in my JSP-document?