Remember that without package manager, we would never have gotten LibreOffice to run, or all these Qt apps in a sustainable way.
The package manager is completely orthogonal to many of the problems mentionned. You can put things in develop/tools from a package (actually Rust packaging may use this). We already have two different toolchains there (gcc2 and gcc5). It is still posible to put self-contained apps in /system/apps in a package if you want to.
So, nothing was lost in that regard.
On dependency hell: people have been quick to forget how easy it is to break an install before package management. Countless time I broke my install because some “unzip to /boot” package overwrote gcc2 libraries with gcc4 versions. Now this is not possible anymore.
Now that this is fixed, we get a lot of software ported in a sane way, and yes, this means a lot of dependencies and fragile ABIs, because the Linux software just works this way. The solution is of course to not install such software. Or use the package manager to at least not manage the dependency hell manually (don’t try to tell me dependency hell in the hands of the user is a good thing).
So yes, the package manager makes our lives so much easier because dependency heal is something you can work through now. It is still annoying, but not to the point of preventing progress in porting applications. And it is now available to users too, as a result. Yes, we should try to minimize dependencies and breakage, but this is a goal to research at haikuports, by improving the checks in haikuporter, and adding more policies for sane things. Changing or removing the package tool will not help. Dependency hell will still be there.