Unfortunately groups likely won't be coming back.
The vast majority of the group posts were spam, and other than the spam there was only around 12 groups that had posts in the last year, and only half a dozen in the last 6 months (at the time I measured obviously, not as of today)
It just wasn't used enough. If you want a new forum for a specific topic - e.g. to replace one of those actually active groups - let us know and we will likely set one up if there is a support for it.
There will be some community functionality coming back though, with an emphasis on those aspects that were being used frequently + improved anti-spammer tools.
The points system is still being debated, but you are right marc that the old system was not as fair as it could have been. We would like to bring it back as we feel strongly that active community members should be rewarded and recognised for their participation, but we won't unless we can put together a solid system.
Now is a perfect time to make any constructive suggestions for that or other aspects of the community setup (hint- forum fixes). Peer voting that you mentioned is one I am personally in favor of, if it can be made so that people can't exploit it.
As for what is taking us so long...
I am genuinely sorry for that but unfortunately our web development team is pretty much just me and the occasional contractor we get in for tasks here and there.
Since the hack we have totally rebuilt the server architecture to be a to more solid and robust. This unfortunately broke a lot of stuff (most actually) at the same time that had been built on the old architecture, with some code going back 5 - 10 years from the entities that predate the Linux Foundation.
From September until the end of December 2011, the sysadmins and I were working 16-20 hour days 7 days a week rebuilding the infrastructure and putting the sites back up. We did almost 9 months worth of work hours each over a 3 month period. I now have a nice new set of wrinkles around my eyes from squinting at a computer screen nonstop for 3 months :)
From here, the next steps are the rebuilding of the sites, because they are most certainly not "optimal" as you have observed.
However I am only human, and looking after close to ten sites, so this takes time as I can only fit new development into about 30-50% of my work hours.
I am currently in the final stages of finishing off the video site, adding some video sitemaps and tweaks so we can upload videos directly from events to the site. There is also a couple of minor bugs to squash, and then after that is the Events site which will get a much needed facelift.
After Events I will move onto Linux.com. The video site is a good example of how we see our sites looking and functioning. It is all HTML5 (except for the embedded YT videos :( ), CSS3 and follows many other industry standards.
I know it's taking time, but things are happening, even if not everyone notices them. We aren't just sipping wine and munching crackers. ;)