In a recent post to his blog Benjamin Eberlei looks at how PEAR and PHAR can affect the lifecycle of the development of your application following some of the feedback he got from a previous article on the same topic. In this revised version he talks about the open source project he's started, Pearanha, to bundle all of these ideas together.
First of all, yes the presented solution was somewhat complex, partly because it is still a proposed idea and definitely up for optimizations. However I am still very convinced of my approach, something I should discuss in more detail.
He mentions some of the downfalls that PHP applications have had up until now as far as ease of deployment and the maintaining of dependencies. Most of the suggested solutions aren't optimal, so a system using the PEAR installer would have to overcome some of them and keep it simple to use. Benjamin has taken the PEAR installer and laid his new Pearanha tool on top of it to help you create custom PEAR installer scripts.