> TCP/IP is so horrible that all the 20 year old proprietary networking systems have all been replaced by TCP/IP
What a technical and convincing argument. Of course TCP/IP is not horrible; it's horribly not user-friendly.
TCP/IP won because it was NOT proprietary. In networking more than anywhere else interoperability is key (see Metcalfe's law) so, proprietary protocols did not stand a single chance against consensus and text-based RFCs available for free. User-friendless played practically no role in the fight.
> auto-discovery has the problem that if any node is mis-configured (either accidentally or deliberately), it can break the entire network.
There are so many other things just as likely to "break the entire network". Like manual configuration from casual users for instance.
Most alternatives to TCP/IP featured BOTH auto-discovery and centralized configurations. In fact every good and new thing in IPv6 was more or less stolen from something older - and rightly so.
I strongly recommend "Interconnections" by Radia Perlman. It's a fantastic book for anyone interested in Ethernet/IP design choices and comparing them with alternatives. This book gives perspective very difficult to get otherwise since alternatives are dead.