We are a group of developers who use Maven for a J2EE project.
How can I create and configure a shared local repository on my computer so that other developers can access and use its libraries? (Otherwise, each developer must have a separate .m2 directory and download the same libraries from the central repository).
Actually, you are better off dedicating an independent server computer to do this, since it can be a real nuisance to asymmetrically configure a desktop machine to act as a server. A popular approach is to use Sonatype's Nexus server software, which can cache both universal artefacts and local project artefacts.
You actually don't want to eliminate the ".m2" cache, since its primary purpose is to speed up compiles with a side benefit of not having to keep separate copies of the artefacts in each individual project. But by using a central server, you can reduce Internet overhead and at the same time publish internal shared objects.
An IDE is no substitute for an Intelligent Developer.
I'll second Tim's comments. Having a Nexus repository in house is the best way to go. Makes sharing binary artifacts with other people in your company simple. I would also recommend setting up Jenkins to manage your builds.