Kevin Hammond is blogging about his experience in trying to use Eclipse. I found this quote interesting:
There's too many cooks in the pot. I had to go to Sun to get my JDK. I had to go to apache.org to get Tomcat. I had to go to Eclipse to get my editor. Then, once I had all of this installed, I discovered that Eclipse by itself doesn't do much more for me other than let me build Java applications or applets. Nothing about Web applications.
I thought it was just me... I tried to go through some of the same effort to get an environment together where I could write J2 based web services, but found it fairly frustrating to pull the environment together.
Part of why I find this interesting is that I particularly think about my customers: they are typically very conservative with respect to what is installed on the desktop. Nothing gets installed that is not on an approved list, meaning that you cannot simply go out and install the latest version of a product, the cool new utility that you saw someone blog about. There is a formal process by which tools and utilities become blessed for the developer environment. Besides reviewing the applicability of the tool, this process also also involves reviewing how the tool works with everything else in the environment. This is not a 1-day effort, it spans a considerable amount of time involving the efforts of a committee of people. The biggest question on their collective mind during this process is "who supports this tool?" If the answer is "nobody", the follow-up questions are certainly "what is the tool's lifecycle" and "does anyone else provide this tool's functionality as well as support?"
Watch for Kevin's follow-up posts, his posts are a good read.