There already is a telemetry system in place to provide data for maintenance called ACARS. The problem is that long segments of airplane flight are over the ocean, where the only link is through satellite, which is expensive and limited in bandwith. ACARS tries to solve this by providing the data in short bursts, which is sufficient for maintenance but not enough for a flight data recorder.
The suggestion for a "glass box" has been around for a while, the problem is a lack of technological maturity to provide the required bandwith, while maintaining an affordable cost.
This isn't a problem of changing mindset, this is a problem of dollars and cents. Changing from imperial to metric requires not just changing all your drawings and specifications to the metric system - a huge endeavour by itself. It also requires retooling all your manufacturing base. You'll have to get all your suppliers onboard as well. And all of this will have to be done simultaneously, as your product won't assemble properly if half of its screws are metric and the other half imperial.
None of this is trivial, and assuming that americans resist using imperial units because of a mindset attitude trivializes the problem. Hell, I'm canadian, where we've supposedly been using the metric system for the last 25 years and my company still uses imperial units because the cost of conversion would be prohibitive.
This works because we're talking about dedicated engineering software which is sold almost exclusively to businesses at enormously inflated prices. We pay more than US$100,000 per year for a single license of some of our design software. Getting unemployed engineers, who would never be able to legally afford those licenses in any cases, into using their products is a win-win situation. When the market picks up and they're rehired, they may well find themselves in a purchasing decision for the very same software for their firm. Plus, given the steep learning curve for many engineering software, people are less likely to easily switch over to competing software.
It's a brilliant strategy, and companies already do this all the time with trial versions of their products. But for most consumer software, it would be undercuting their own market.
To restore a sense of reality, I think Walt Disney should have a Hardluckland. -- Jack Paar