Maybe it is not so ironic that just as CORBA was reaching a reasonable level of maturity (including viable open-source implementations), XML-RPC mutated into SOAP and took on a lot more baggage than I believe was originally intended. The CORBA-ish aspects of SOAP will take *years* to mature in terms of the number of usable, interoperable implementations, as well as in terms of well-known, reliable patterns of application usage.
I believe CORBA was more complex than necessary for 80 percent of the use cases. The collection of SOAP-related specifications are even more complex and less proven.
SOAP is inevitable though. I suspect simpler usage models would emerge if the standards committees and large vendors would step aside and let developers compete for real solutions.