I've been back into the LBBs the last few days. I've also been looking over the Traveller Little Black Books. Something struck me. Even though these games have their warts, they have definitely stood the test of time. You look at games like Pathfiner, Dungeon Crawl Classics, and now D&D Next, all of which made extensive use of pretty open beta testing. Legions of games with decades of experience helped locate and smooth the rough spots. The result is a finished game that is playtested and really put through its paces.
LBB D&D and Traveller did not enjoy such diverse and wide-spread playtesting. Yet they are far more robust systems. I think it is also important to remember that the teams at TSR and GDW didn't have 30+ years of RPG industry to help guide them. They were operating in a strange land without a compass. Yet the games they developed and produce are more robust and more tightly designed than most games that follow, even today in the age of open beta testing. Kudos, gentlemen, and thank you.