When Developers Talk, People Listen
All Java vendors ultimately are allies in an ongoing war against a common enemy. The enemy is Microsoft and the prize is enterprise computing market share. Any Java advancements in general are a win for the individual vendors in particular, and the source of Java innovation is the millions of Java developers "in the trenches". That's why vendors pay such close attention to their customers' requirements and work to meet them as quickly as possibleeven if they don't always have the time to submit JSRs for them and wait while the JCP process runs its course.
IBM and BEA didn't jointly develop their three specs because they enjoy collaborating with their fiercest rivals, they did it because customers urged them to make their jobs easier. Customers prompted the collaboration and the vendors thought enough of the results to propose their solutions to the Java community at large.
The JCP, for its part, also recognizes the value of developer feedback. Among the changes slated for the next version of the JCP (2.6, due out this spring) is making all draft reviews publicly accessible. Presently, you must be a JCP community member to see the first draft of a JSR, and public review isn't allowed until the third step in the JCP's four-step process. "For many JSRs, the most valuable feedback comes during public review, which of course is great but it comes relatively late in the life of the JSR," Kluyt says. As a result, spec leads generally can't incorporate the feedback into that release.
So don't assume you're at the whim of the big players in the Java space to get the functionality you want in your Java products. Remember the innovation flow begins in shops like the one you work in everyday. Vendors will pay attention to your requirements and even act on themas long as it makes business sense.