There are two points that I think should be considered. First, Eclipse is an excellent IDE, but the problem is Java. Java requires a lot of RAM---I wouldn't touch it with less than a gig of RAM. My current computer only has 256 megs, and, when I try to use Epic, the whole machine slows down to a crawl. So make sure that you have enough RAM. Epic will be erratic if there's not enough. Sun recommends at least 512mb just to install the sdk. Second, it sounds to me as if you are missing a module. For the Epic plugin to work right, make sure that you have the PadWalker module---it'll enable you to see variables in a subroutine. You can get it from CPAN.
There's a great piece on debugging with Epic. It covers all your questions. It's a must read. See:
It requires registration, but it's free.
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