Backups are greatly simplified if you keep third-party code well away from your own data. (RiscPkg doesn't really support this yet, but with apt/dpkg all you really need to backup is your data plus a list of installed packages.)
I'll see what I can do about an article.
The 'old' way (not my choice of words) will never go away, and I don't expect upstream authors to start producing packages (unless they really want to). Even in the GNU/Linux world, upstream sources are usually distributed as tarballs - packaging is done by Debian or Red Hat or whoever.
Of course that does beg the question of exactly who will do the packaging. Please rest assured that the issue has not escaped me: writing the package manager is just the beginning.