New proposed patch with:
- migrating slf4j dependency from 1.5.3 to 1.5.8
- migrating commons-collections dependency from 3.1 to 3.2.1 and keeping the 2 classes using deprecated BeanMap 
- migrating jetty dependencies from 6.1.14 to 6.1.22
- migrating xerces dependencies from 2.8.1 to 2.9.0
- migrating derby dependencies from 10.2.1.6 to 10.5.3.0_1 (10.5.3.0 has a buggy pom.xml)
- removing unused parent dependencies (commons-beanutils, commons-digester, commons-lang, derbynet, derbyclient)
- remove duplicates servlet-api and jsp-api dependencies
Again with this patch applied to trunk build with tests is successful (minus the AdministratorTest#testAdminNodeCollidingWithRandomNode test case).
> httpclient: Agreed with Angela, the 3.0 -> 4.0 upgrade is a non-trivial change that should be handled as a separate task.
I did not realized that this dependency is critical, it's just that from my experience httpclient is one of these libs that tends to be pulled by another third party lib and often with conflicted versions .
> beanutils: AFAIK we only use BeanMap in two places anymore. Instead of the new dependency, I'd rather use a copy of the BeanMap class or refactor the reference away.
I think we can keep using the deprecated BeanMap till migrating to future common-collections 4.0.
Moreover one of the two places is for one of the jackrabbit-core test cases.
I am not very familiar with maven (more of an Ivy guy ) but FWIU the derby dependency is mandatory for jackrabbit-core even if there is no java import of any Derby class (the same apply for H2 or any *PM with a JDBC driver).
But when a user pull jackrabbit from maven he must exclude derby if he does not want it (rather than explicitly pulling the JR derby dependency like with Ivy configuration ).
I think that Derby and H2 are pretty much on the same level in jackrabbit-core.
This is not the case for jackrabbit-webapp or jackrabbit-standalone where we explicitly want to use a DerbyPM.
Are there specific reasons for this maven configuration? (maybe a thread on the dev list is more appropriate for such discussion)