Jon, Sorry, did not realize you responded. I used to have it set to email me when someone responded, but I guess that didn't carry over to the new forum. I left a manifesto in the old axon forum a while ago, but heres a direct answer to your questions:
Static IP gives me the knowledge that this machine is this I.P. and it will not change unless I change it. It gives me the ability to tech the rig exactly as it will be onsite. It gives me the ability to coexist with predefined artnet or other networks. If I have to swap out a machine I can duplicate ALL settings on the replacement machine, unplug defective and put the new one in place. And yes I know I can do much of this with a router as long as I know the mac address of the machine. but now I have to get the mac address of the machine and put it in the router and make all those changes and I have an extra piece of gear to fail/lose/break/get forgotten/be a general pain in my ass when it isn't necessary.
You can keep the option to leave auto IP on. Just give a checkbox that says 'Use auto-IP?' that is on by default. If I uncheck it, give me fields to put in my own address and mask.
Let me ask you a question in return: Why, on this one product line, does High-end dig in their heels and refuse to give us this basic function. It isn't even a feature, it is an expected part of the product. Hog III? I can set IP. Hog 4? I can set the IP. DP2000? DP8000? yep. Actually I can set 2 IP's on the Hog 4. Fixture Net and Hog Net. We have to be able to grasp DMX addresses and Universes. With Hog III we had to be able to grasp IP addresses, you cant get DMX out of it without networking. To use CITP we need to understand IP addresses. Catalyst required it. Frankly, it makes an otherwise good product seem like a DJ level toy.
There is no logic that I can see to keeping this setting buried in the OS. All I have ever been told is that it is to keep operation simple. That is disingenuous and insulting to your users. If we can handle the DMX control requirements alongside the IP requirements of a rig full of every other product you make, we can handle one more set of IP addresses.