Richard Monson-Haefel, a man who has seen Java from the beginning responds to an interesting question, "Is the JCP (Java Community Process) obsolete?
Richard defends it.
Perhaps it is no surprise that I think that Richard is dead wrong and that the JCP is largely obsolete. The Java game used to be about creating enough mass for wide spread adoption of a platform (J2SE, J2EE, J2ME, etc.) Well, this has already happened. And more importantly, a couple of vendors (IBM and BEA) have come out on top.
Richard states, "The truth is, IBM and BEA need the JCP. Neither of these companies could go it alone, outside the JCP. " IMHO, this is one of the most naive statements I've heard in a while. IBM and BEA realize that they the competition isn't Sun, Oracle or Geronimo - it is Microsoft. And as long as they have the JCP dragging their innovation cycles they will be competing in an uphill battle.
So, is the JCP obsolete? My answer is - partially. It is obsolete when the IBM / BEA need it to be. There will continue to be many technologies that aren't critical path that can be run through long laborious debates (aka, jcp). But, for those technologies that are core to competing against Microsoft, I anticipate (and hope) that they take the quickest path with the least drag on the innovation cycle.