Back in a land before colour film, there were hubs. Fixed hubs.
Then came geared hubs, and it was good.
Sometime in the 1970’s the derailleur became much more popular as they were cheaper to manufacture and offered lots on combinations of gears that no one needed, but they wanted.
Now, thankfully, people are realising that perhaps hubs were right all along. They only used three or four combinations of their derailleur gears on a day to day basis, and that hubs are more kind on riders if they lived in the city. The people that bang about off road and race still use them, and that’s fine… but for day to day commuting or going to the shops or the pub, hubs are perfect. Always have been.
Lets face it. You don’t see many perfectly functioning derailleurs from the 1950’s being sold today do you? Build one into a wheel, either a brand new unit, or one that’s sixty years old, and it will keep on ticking along nicely with a little oil and adjustment every six months – more frequently if you’ve just replaced the cable and it’s bedding in nicely.