Oracle spent the last years to make the JCP much more open and accessible. One example here are the JSRs which are much more lightweight than the complex JCPs. You can even adopt one.
Maybe you’re a long time joda-time user and want to make sure important features make it into JSR 310 – new Date and Time API for Java? Join them to discuss your need, share some code, help write, improve or translate documentation.
Some bug in the SDK nagging you? Contribute a fix to the OpenJDK. With Java 8, the OpenJDK build has been simplified tremendously. Sun ignored your bug report for years even though it contained a patch? Now is the time to change this.
I had the chance to chat with Heather after the talk which earned me a copy of “Java 7 Concurrency Cookbook”; thanks for that 🙂 We discusses a couple of ideas and she gave me points; maybe I’ll submit a few patches. If I do, I’ll blog about the experience here.