To me, multiple same area projects are nice, but I just like to get one working library before starting another. Same goes for scenegraphs, opengl bindings, sound, physics libraries. Most of these are still alpha. Hopefully people would concentrate on getting one library from each area to get into v1.0.
I completely agree.
With respect to ODE, what we needed was a way of using it from Java. Jani did a great job on this.
Where I do think value could be added would be to help define a "standard" Java API for utilizing Physics Engines (not just ODE). The "reference implementation" could be bound to ODE.
The benefit would be the ability to focus on a higher level in an implementation independent manner. Assuming that multiple physics engines are implemented, the user could choose the "best" for the task without having to change much code.
Perhaps we need to propose a JSR for this? Java Physics Engine API, JPEA?