I guess no one has seen this issue before :(
Note that I know Pear is installed and working as when I use Magento Connect with full write permissions everything installs/updates ok. I just really do not want to have full write permissions set up.
Basically, I am going to start a new store with this software and a couple of my customers have requested that I offer hosting. However, having the ability to assist people install extensions, updating their installations using SSH is definitely something I need before I start rolling out a hosting package.
Any hosts out there that may have any ideas of what could be causing the issue? All my servers run on Apple xServes running Mac OS X though the actual server I am planning on using for shared hosting is running Mac OS X 10.5.6.