I hand-edited my environment.xml, to try to start an eclserver. eclserver.xml was not generated, and eventually by manually running configgen I was able to see the error message
XSLT Message: Database userid or password not specified!Source tree node: EclServerProcess. (file:///opt/HPCCSystems/componentfiles/configxml/eclserver.xsl, line 55, column 39.)
This error when failing to start the system needs to be easer to find !