Coyne wrote:What happens at that point depends on a whole range of issues including marketing issues, political issues, and dependent standard issues, among other things. It is hard to eradicate a widely used standard, no matter how much conflict there is. Consider U.S. measures versus metric: They were telling us in school in (*ahem*) 1962 that U.S. measures were going away. How well did that work out?
Yet your example is a purely US problem. In most countries switching to SI or similar units for most official documents went just fine. A better example might be PAL vs. NTSC.
EDIT: Annoying phone with its crappy UI
No argument there. As I noted, they were teaching metric in 1962, with the vague idea that we might change over in 10 years. Meanwhile, 50 years later...
I merely extend that to other considerations with changing standards.
With RS-232, it wasn't so much political partisanship as marketing and interoperability concerns (not that RS-232 was great at interoperability, you understand). It started with the marketing problem. Joe the salesman: "We have a great terminal." John, the customer, "It says here it doesn't support RS-232." Joe: "Yes, RS-485 is a much better standard." John: "Well, my computer is RS-232. Goodbye." Seriously.
Integrating both with a terminal was hugely expensive at the time, so RS-485 was always an optional selection and, usually, an exclusive selection. You could have RS-232 or RS-485, not both; and you couldn't change your mind later. So you couldn't transition easily, which is why the marketing issue; because it was also an interoperability issue. If you had a mix of terminals with both standards (not that anyone did) your connectivity problems would increase hugely. So that fed back to, "We only want RS-232."
RS-232 is mostly obsolete now, but that's not because it was superseded by RS-485. The latter is now more prevalent because the RS-232 uses went away in favor of built-in modems and high speed networks. Now, we're getting computers that don't even have RS-232 (this one doesn't). Lots of USB, FireWire, Network, even a phone connection and an internal modem (but those will go away, too). But most interestingly, that doesn't mean my computer has an RS-485 port. So RS-485 didn't take over, RS-232 effectively died out.
(RS-485 was used really heavily for control systems, but cheap Ethernet is driving that out as well, so I suspect RS-485 is dying out as we speak.)
Standards and their environments are interesting beasts.