I had the same problem with version 1.4.3 and 1.4.4. (FreeBSD over internet).
I hadn´t any problems with local installation in Mandrake or Windows (minixxamp) using the same versions. Function excelent!
Sometimes the extension of the downloaded file didn´t match: ex. file.tar.tar.
Sometimes using the tar.gz file, expanded locally (windows) and uploaded to server via FTP shows problems with .sql files: the installation couldn´t find them; the reason is when expanding locally the compressed file, files with length=0 (this .sql´s) they don´t apear. Solution: use zip format.
Hope this help.
PD: i couldn´t install any version of Moodle in my internet server provider (FreeBSD); the program stucks on installation: blank pages, now this kind of errors.
I started it using local installation, upload the database and restore on the server (phpMyAdmin). The program starts, but i can´t save anything: "serious internal error". Apache error logs: nothing related. I think it sth related to server and their deep configurations.