In this post to the bitExpert blog Stephan Hochdörfer shares some updates to his own opinions on the "require-dev gone wrong" problem he previously posted about. In this new post he points out that, while there is an issue here, it's not something that can't be resolved (or has been to some extent).
The gist of all this is that, yes, we do have a problem. Fortunately, there are already solutions out there - none of them perfect, but there's always room for improvement isn't there? Installing .phars with Composer is currently not supported out-of-the-box by Composer but there are 2 projects to help us deal with it: One is tooly-composer-script - a Composer plugin that manages to pull .phar files from a remote location. The other one is PHIVE - the PHAR Installation and Verification Environment.
He points out that, while these two packages help the situation, there's still another "require-dev" issue with tools that don't actually "touch" the code. This requires that a certain version of the tool be run against a certain version of your code, creating a dependency of a different kind. Fortunately there's also a tool to help some with this as well, the php-scoper project that makes it easier to isolate functionality through randomly generated namespaces.