Given the universal truth that is the 80/20 rule, I bet you 80% of the problem threads in that forum section come from 20% of the users, who have opted to ignore Varien’s well-published system requirements and keep insisting on trying to get the lot working on XAMPP and other exotic combinations of operating systems, web servers and application layers.
My suggestion is to split those problem forums in two. Once branch for “Meets system requirements” and one for “Ignored system requirements”. Or at least, “*Nix” and “Windows/MacOS/Other”.
Personally, when evaluating a new system I often head to the problem forums first to see how many threads per hour get started with problems. Anyone coming here may be forgiven for thinking Magento is a PITA to install.
Fact is, it’s very easy to install, both in a dev environment and production. Download CentOS5 latest stable, install as server, yum install a few additions and presto, you are done. Free and fast. If need be, pop all of that on an old PC and you have your dedicated dev box which meets the requirements and is easier to deploy to live from. Add Zend Server CE in the mix and it’s all dead simple to keep up to date and secure too.
But instead, people keep insisting on installing some exotic mix on their already clogged Windows boxes and then they wonder why it’s not going swimmingly. They post in the forums, inflating the noise to signal ratio, making Magento look like an impossible-to-install package to all who don’t take time to read those problems thoroughly.
Split the problems by “supported platforms” and “unsupported platforms” and anyone with half a brain can judge in a split-second that the majority of problems are caused by those ignoring easy instructions. Newbie confidence grows, less complaints and it’s easier for forum members to help those out who do stick to the guidelines.
Ironically, these people think they go the easy way with a prepackaged stack but inevitable run into a brick wall fast so they end up spending more time than they would have following any Linux distro’s server install instructions and a yum or other package manager tutorial.