survey - what java ide do you use? (only free ones plz)
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Forte used to be crappy, but the new Sun One IDE is really nice. I think it's better then eclipse.
You might also want to consider using something a little more light weight like vim. I personally have a hard time using one of those IDE's that tries to think for you. Plus there is usually a pretty big learning curve to get over before you actually become productive with an all-in-wonder IDE. One thing I will say is that Sun One has a nice debugger that is easy to use.
Its Open-source, free, runs on Win32, Linux, Solaris, etc. Its implemented using SWT which is more responsive than Swing. The standard version allows you to develop standard J2SE apps. I use it (GTK version on Linux) to develop my Swing apps.
However, for quick hacks, I use nedit (syntax coloring is all I need).
It's the java text editor for programmers. It's plugin base and extremely customizable. When you use for the first time, you may not like it because you don't know all the features, which plugin is good, which plugin is for what stuffs like that. But once you know all of its features and plugin, you can do everything you want.