First thanks for reporting back to the community the issue - especially with a fix and suggestion :-)
Nick and I have discussed this and feel it something we should be able to get in for the RichFaces 3.3.3 release. However we'll need you to [electronically] sign the JBoss contributor agreement before we can add you code to the projects source.
The link is http://www.jboss.org/contribute and is pretty straight forward. You just use your jboss user ID. Also if you could add a patch file to the jira that would be a big help.
Thank you very much for adding this functionality to the next RichFaces version. :)
I added a patch to the jira issue.
Don't hesitate to contact me if the patch didn't work.
I've signed the contributor agreement and thanks again for the patch.