I decided to try my hand at a basic plugin to extend widget functionality without loading up my functions.php file.
What I did was attach the output of <link rel="profile" href="http://microformats.org/profile/hcard"> to wp_head with add_action and then activated and tested it to see that the profile was being added.
One thing I noticed really quickly was that a couple of lines were added above the doctype declaration as well as an error going "The plugin generated 1 character of unexpected output during activation. If you notice “headers already sent” messages, problems with syndication feeds or other issues, try deactivating or removing this plugin."
I first tried clearing up the error by better formatting the plugin file contents, but to no avail. I then tried deactivating and deleting from the test server and the problem persisted, so I'm here now, seeking help