tail -f /my/brain
After having used m2eclipse for the past two years I recently switched to q4e (http://code.google.com/p/q4e/), I find it substantially more stable when handling big projects. It works especially well with sub-modules as individual eclipse projects. No more "out of memory"-dialogs in eclipse, and the progress bar for "building workspace" don't stall at 8%. Just my $0.02. Definitely worth trying out.
I tried q4e quite a while back and it didn't have nearly the features that m2e has. I also thought that q4e wasn't being actively developed anymore.
You're correct in that it don't have nearly the same level of features as m2eclipse. This strike of minimalism is something I value though. The value is in having a plugin that integrates with basic maven-functionality well (per-module classpath and source folders) rather than replicating what's available as maven plugins. I'm not sure about maintenance activity though. (I'm not affiliated with either m2eclise or q4e.)Eclipse claims to have "eclipsified" q4e as "Eclipse IAM" and the latest release is from 2009-05-06.I believe Netbeans is on the right track with maven integration - it's only using the POM for describing the project. This has other disadvantages though, like not being able to share warning-levels with the rest of the team.
I would have to agree with using m2eclipse, things worked out quite smooth for me.