discussion before the release of

looking at the code I'm sure this will not work correctly. It wil "accept" numerical entity references but not named entity references - so those still won't work. (And actually, its operation doesn't have anything to do with Unicode, only with entities - which may encode Unicode characters but entities are not themselves Unicode.)
See my item 'Non-breaking space in forced links' in the SuggestionBox: this is one case that actually shows the function htmlspecialchars_unicode() does not work correctly!
Also, there is no option for the quote_style and charset parameters as in the PHP original, so we lose functionality here, too. It's probably better to have a "wrapper" function around the PHP one, which (after applying the PHP function, passing on the extra parameters) merely reverts all ampersands that are for any entity references (numerical or named); thus the wrapper function should accept all parameters the PHP function does. And since we are supposed to produce XHTML, ENT_QUOTES should probably be the default for quote_style; maybe also UTF-8 should be the default for charset?
Note: the INI code formatter used ENT_QUOTES and this has now disappeared (it was there for a reason!). But an entity used in code should be visible as an entity, not as the character it encodes. Conclusion: a code formatter should use the PHP function htmlspecialchars() so that any entities are "escaped".
Here's the solution: a new function htmlspecialchars_ent() to replace the proposed (beta) htmlspecialchars_unicode():
     * Wrapper around PHP's htmlspecialchars() which preserves (repairs) entity references.
     * The function accepts the same parameters as htmlspecialchars() in PHP and passes them on
     * to that function.
     * One defaults here is different here from that in htmlspecialchars() in PHP:
     * charset is set to UTF-8 so we're ready for UTF-8 support (and as long as we don't support
     * that there should be no difference with Latin-1); on systems where the charset parameter
     * is not available or UTF-8 is not supported this will revert to Latin-1 (ISO-8859-1).
     * The function first applies htmlspecialchars() to the input string and then "unescapes"
     * character entity references and numeric character references (both decimal and hexadecimal).
     * Entities are recognized also if the ending semicolon is omitted at the end or before a
     * newline or tag but for consistency the semicolon is always added in the output where it was
     * omitted.
     * NOTE:
     * Where code should be rendered _as_code_ the original PHP function should be used so that
     * entity references are also rendered as such instead of as their corresponding characters.
     * @access  public
     * @since   wikka
     * @version 1.0
     * @todo    (later) support full range of situations where (in SGML) a terminating ; may legally
     *          be omitted (end, newline and tag are merely the most common ones).
     * @param   string  $text required: text to be converted
     * @param   integer $quote_style optional: quoting style - can be ENT_COMPAT (default, escape
     *          only double quotes), ENT_QUOTES (escape both double and single quotes) or
     *          ENT_NOQUOTES (don't escape any quotes)
     * @param   string  $charset optional: charset to use while converting; default UTF-8
     *          (overriding PHP's default ISO-8859-1)
     * @return  string  converted string with escaped special characted but entity references intact

    function htmlspecialchars_ent($text,$quote_style=ENT_COMPAT,$charset='UTF-8')
        // define patterns
        $alpha  = '[a-z]+';                         # character entity reference
        $numdec = '#[0-9]+';                        # numeric character reference (decimal)
        $numhex = '#x[0-9a-f]+';                    # numeric character reference (hexadecimal)
        $terminator = ';|(?=($|[\n<]|&lt;))';       # semicolon; or end-of-string, newline or tag
        $entitystring = $alpha.'|'.$numdec.'|'.$numhex;
        $escaped_entity = '&amp;('.$entitystring.')('.$terminator.')';

        // execute PHP built-in function, passing on optional parameters
        $output = htmlspecialchars($text,$quote_style,$charset);
        // "repair" escaped entities
        // modifiers: s = across lines, i = case-insensitive
        $output = preg_replace('/'.$escaped_entity.'/si',"&$1;",$output);
        // return output
        return $output;

I created a test harness for it (I tested with htmlspecialchars() in the Link() function in wikka.php replaced by htmlspecialchars_ent():

      1. [[HomePage | word & notherword]] (to be escaped)
        => word & notherword
      1. [[JavaWoman | Java&nbsp;Woman]] (alpha: no-breaking space)
        => Java Woman
      1. [[JavaWoman | &Auml;hnlich]] (alpha with uppercase)
        => Ähnlich
      1. no terminating ; before tag &quot<span style="color:blue;">blue</span>&quot; (alpha: text, not link)
        => no terminating ; before tag "blue"
      1. [[CategoryDevelopmentTest | test no terminating ; before end &quot]] (alpha)
        => test no terminating ; before end "
      1. [[Docs:FormattingRules | <b>no ; before tag &#039</b>]] (numeric decimal)
        => <b>no ; before tag '</b>
      1. [[SandBox missing ; before &#x3f5
|<- newline]] (numeric hex)
=> <- newline
There are problems (now) with test cases 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7; with my proposed solution all testcases are converted correctly.

Note: The formatter does not recognize forced links with newline in description text (test case 7)! There is nothing wrong with having a newline inside a link description. => This requires small fix in wakka formatter (./formatters/wakka.php), as follows:
        // forced links
        // \S : any character that is not a whitespace character
        // \s : any whitespace character
        else if (preg_match("/^\[\[(\S*)(\s+(.+))?\]\]$/", $thing, $matches))

        // forced links
        // \S : any character that is not a whitespace character
        // \s : any whitespace character
        else if (preg_match("/^\[\[(\S*)(\s+(.+))?\]\]$/s", $thing, $matches))      # s modifier: recognize forced links across lines

Finally: the call in ./formatters/ini.php should be restored to:
$text = htmlspecialchars($text, ENT_QUOTES);

and in ./formatters/code.php we should also use
htmlspecialchars($text, ENT_QUOTES);
(i.e, add the ENT_QUOTES parameter).
All other calls to htmlspecialchars_unicode() (as well as the definition) should be replaced by htmlspecialchars_ent() above.

CategoryDevelopmentCore CategoryDevelopmentFormatters CategoryDevelopmentTest
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