You could build something as a developer and install it on a machine, and it could run multiple versions of the same application at the same time, including with different ABIs. There were build servers and all the build scripts were automated and vcs-managed. You could package config changes or applications. You could go back and rebuild old crap nobody had looked at in 3 years, and have it actually work. Ops and devs could both use it independently, with ops having the ability to overwrite dev changes. It was slightly clunky, but the functionality was beautiful.
Decentralized, distributed, automated, auditable, and able to support maintenance of pretty much any kind without interrupting existing services. It was fucking sweet, and i've never seen another tool that could match it.
It all depends on the use case. Having everything is pretty much the same as having nothing.
Ahh yes, grasshopper. But neither situation is the pure folly of being attached to the idea of such possession!