Wouldn't the other way make more sense?
It might make more sense but we don't know how to do that safely.
When CHDK starts, it does not know what button was used to activate the camera (i.e. the playback button or the On/Off button) unless you are still holding that button down. So the choice is :
1) start the camera in playback mode unless the On/Off button is held down
2) start the camera in shooting mode unless the On/Off button is held down
If you use the second choice, the camera will start in shooting mode when you press the playback button or the On/Off switch. This will extend the lens - which might be not what you want (especially if the playback button is accidentally activated while the camera is in a pocket or purse).
This has been debated many times over the years and the consensis was to make it work the way you now see it (option 1) above. That way the lens never extends due to a short accidental press of either switch.
You are of course free to compile your own version and change the action if you really want that feature.