Dave Johnson on open web technologies, social software and Java
I've never used a build or "continuous integration" server before so I've got nothing to compare Hudson to, but I can say this: it's amazingly easy to install and configure. Just drop the hudson.war file in Tomcat's webapps directory or deploy to your favorite app server and start setting up build jobs.
Hudson can pull from CVS and Subversion. It can run Maven builds, Ant builds and shell scripts. It can publish javadocs, build artifacts, test reports and RSS feeds. The UI is simple but full of options and with plenty of built-in help. Here are the projects I'm monitoring with Hudson:
My Hudson is setup on old (Pentium 450mhz) Linux box and I've got it setup to poll my projects every 30 minutes and do a full rebuild and test on any change. I'm subscribed via RSS, so I'll quickly learn of any failure. Very handy.
Read more about Hudson at the project's Java.net site and the Aquarium has a nice set of Hudson links.