I'm happy to report that the PEAR 1.4.x branch is finally settling in. All of the issues reported since the release of PEAR 1.4.6 have been rare edge cases that won't affect the greater majority of users. I give the unit test suite that I've been slaving over full credit for this accomplishment, as it has caught several re-introduced problems when fixing newly discovered bugs. If you aren't unit-testing, you are wasting your future time, not to mention your end-users' time!
Also mentioned are some of the issues that have been noticed since the release of 1.4.6 (including issues with version_compare, problems with the packagefilemanager, "pear" command was ignoring safe_mode/open_basedir restrictions), but they've already been corrected. There's also been the addition of unit testing functionality that allows you to run tests post-install automatically.