No. The plugin uses maven dependency management to get the required libraries and native components depending on your operating system
gwt-maven-plugin is tied to a version of GWT SDK. gwt-maven-plugin must match the GWT DSK version. To use Maven with GWT release prior to GWT 2.1, use gwt-maven-plugin 1.2 and read the documentation.
GWT guys don't use Maven by themselves but are interested by our work to provide community support. They helped us to make the plugin work with the GWT SDK release candidates.
gwt-dev JAR includes many libraries, including some Apache commons-*. You may use such libs in your project with other recent version. Don't define gwt-dev as a dependency, the plugin will resolve it when necessary for you based on your gwt-user version.
Some user report same errors as gwt-dev also include and Eclipse JDT compiler. A way to detect this issue is to run mvn dependency:tree and look for any org.eclipse.jdt artifacts listed (GWT's is in the gwt-dev jar added by the gwt:compile task itself) - then exclude it from whichever artifact is bringing it in.
Since 2.1.0 version, the versioning scheme follow the gwt sdk version number plus the plugin version : <gwt-sdk>-<plugin-release-number>.
Note this has been decided by the plugins maintainers after the first 2.1.0 release. So the first release for gwt sdk is 2.1.0 (and the second one 2.1.0-1).