New open PEAR channels
For a while I've been pondering if it would be possible to build a free-for-all PEAR channel for everybody to submit their packages. I feel PHP classes kind of missed the boat here for requiring people to register to download, and well.. basically having a design that's just hard to take serious.
Why PEAR packages?
If you publish your next opensource project as a PEAR package on a real PEAR channel, your users will be able to install PEAR packages by simply entering something like 'pear install packagename'. PEAR packages don't actually have to come from pear.php.net, but they can be hosted by any other server.
One of the benefits of getting your packages from pear.php.net, is that there is a high degree of quality control, as well as solid coding standards. I do believe though that there is a different part of the market of people who don't want to go through rigorous approval process and just want to get their stuff up for others to download. Inspired by Gemcutter; this is where pearfarm and pearhub come in.
As a bonus you'll get other fancy features PEAR provides, such as dependency management. You can easily make pear automatically download package A from author B if your package is downloaded.
What do they have in common?
Both pearfarm and pearhub are brand new, so very little packages are available. They also both seem to be a work in progress. Anybody can register for both sites and publish their packages.
Pearfarm seems to be a more complete product, whereas Pearhub resembles the standard Pirum. Pearfarm also includes tools make it more easy to generate and upload your package and/or new releases. My biggest problem with Pearfarm is actually that it doesn't support OpenID. As a developer I'm surprised to see any code-related site being launched without OpenID support.
My pick today would be to host my packages on Pearfarm. The beauty of the PEAR system is that you don't have to choose one for downloading packages, because a package from Pearfarm can easily depend on a package from Pearhub.
Host your own
If you want to host your own pear channel, I can recommend Pirum. It's an extremely simple system that actually just generates static files. Chiara_PEAR_Server is a more complete system, but I've found it harder to customize.