I got a similar error using a daily build version. Here's what I've discovered...
I'm on hostgator, which supports PHP 4 and 5. PHP 5 has to be called from a domain (domain.com vs. 188.8.131.52/~username) and the back end package, cPanel, has a feature that allows you to choose between PHP 4 and 5.
However, the .htaccess file for PHP4 includes the number 4 in the statement. The PHP 5 statement does not include the "5" ... so the server itself, if you use the built in tweak, certainly knows that you're requesting PHP5, but Silverstripe's default is to assume you're running 4 if it doesn't see the "5"...
I assume this is why the daily builds tend to generate multiple iterations of .htaccess.
I won't tell you how many times I tried installing this... over a period of days... using various builds. I have high hopes for this package and was determined to get it to work.
The errors were being attributed in the forums to PHP5 issues. I knew it had to be a language barrier... and I suspected .htaccess.
I decided to start over one last time:
1. obliterate all files -- all vestiges of silverstripe
2. delete the MySQL database, user and link (create a new set with all new names)
3. manually edit the .htaccess file at your web root to remove all silverstripe commands (otherwise, when you try to reinstall you get the "this seems to have been installed already!")
I wanted a complete Mulligan. The ultimate do-over.
1. I grabbed a fresh copy of the stable release (not the nightly builds that resolved some problems only to create others) and uploaded it to the server.
2. created a new database/user/and linked them using cpanel's MySQL management ... again, new names.
3. went to the domain.com/install.php and added (a.) the database details and (b.) an admin email and password ... which is incredibly easy to miss? That's why there are so many people who can't login after installing...
Got green lights and a little worried orange over the apache mod rewrite, but had already found and tested "rewritetest.php" in my browser and knew it was working.
Once the install was over? I got a dreadful error message. SSViewer... something.
It didn't really matter what it said.
I looked at .htaccess. Silverstripe had re-written my .htaccess file and had removed the PHP 5 statement altogether. ??
I manually edited .htaccess to add two lines of code -- calling PHP5, and calling it by number right at the top:
AddType x-mapp-php5 .php
AddHandler application/x-httpd-php5 .php
above the line:
### SILVERSTRIPE START ###
Once I did that? I went to the root of my domain and got a happy login.
Whew! Now I can play.
This won't solve everyone's problem but I know it will solve someone's problem so I will not have lived in vain.