I read with interest Steve Yegge's mistakenly-leaked email about the oppressive conditions for engineers at Amazon. It's hard to reconcile with the sort of innovation they consistently show.
My take on Steve's rant (as an engineer at Amazon) is that a lot of the issues he pointed out are legitimate, but at an entirely different scale than he was pitching them at.
Day to day I work on a product with another couple dozen or so engineers. We build what makes sense for our product, and for the most part we build it in a way that makes sense for us. Sometimes we are under pressure to leverage other parts of the platform, and sometimes that does entail a lot more work. Most of the time, though, it ends up reducing our operational load (because the systems we depend on support products much larger than ours :) and giving us someone we can page when things go pear-shaped.
Amazon isn't the perfect place to work, but it's generally not bad (other than the frugality thing; that sucks as an employee no matter which way you slice it).