That's an argument I do not buy. I've worked too long in sysadmin departments. Maintainance of tools is important (and needed). And therefore, desktops shall have NO tools. Nada. You put them on a central file server, and use NFS (or whatever they use in a Windows environment) to install something once, and make it available everywhere.
Our experiences differ here. I've seldom worked at a place where run-everything-off-one-server was a stable solution, usually because of a geographic split between servers and developers, complicated by building moves and "oh f*ck, somebody didn't arrange for enough bandwidth between building A and B."
A run-everything-off-one-server configuration also introduces a single point of failure. You can protect the server with RAID5 and big UPSs, but it's still a single box sitting there waiting for the gremlins to sink their teeth into it. If a single developer box goes out, replacing it is easy, and at worse you lose a developer day. If the server everyone depends on goes out, you're hosed. And for some strange reason, hosing always seems to happen about 12 hours before a major deadline.