This is exactly what I'm talking about. Yes, it has worked for years, and that's why you like it. You (we?) are now that "old generation" that I was referring to, and I'm not about to become a grumpy old admin.
Some things are basic to design. The design philosophy of Unix/Linux has nothing to do with technology, and everything to do with human beings. Technology changes, human being stay the same. I'm a developer now, and that same design philosophy is how people create good programs. It's the same human element at work.
Simple designs are really quite lauded across all of design. It's not just software. Complexity is what you get when you don't have any other choice. It's not really an old fashioned value at all. Einstein said "Everything should be as simple as possible, but no simpler".
Worked just fine. I also worked for vendor J, who used one big binary: rpd handles just about every routing protocol you can imagine. Is J bad and is R good? According to the market, J is doing very well, while R has been acquired and assimilated by a another company.
Well, that might be OK. From an admin perspective, what's the difference since routing is really routing. One binary is easy to deal with. If they architected the software in a sane way and devided the big binary into sane objects, it might even be easy to code as well. It makes sense because networking is networking. I just don't see the same thing being true for system services. Starting up services is ENTIRELY different from mounting a share. Why would you group those two functions together?
But really though you're judging the goodness/badness from the wrong angle. Which company is successful has zero to do with which is a better design. Success has as much to do with marketing, price, luck, branding, and golf outings as it does with the design. Deisgn is just a small part of success.
The question should be, which did YOU find easier to deal with, and which one do the software developers find easier to code and add new features to.