Thank you for finally getting to this extremely hairy problem. I realize you are very busy, what with 500 e-mails a day. Which is why I have always referred to trying to get the attention of the development team, rather than you personally. OK, here goes:
1. Just speaking for myself, this particular issue is not my main problem. I'm sure it is for some of the others who have commented here. Please see my earlier comments, especially the ones of July 31, for more details on my main problem.
2. Again, as I said in earlier comments, all I ask is more info on how the session-handling and logging-in (manual authentication) scripts are supposed to work, so I can debug it myself, since the development team is unable to reproduce the problem. I have tried being modest, but I'm getting too desperate to avoid saying that people who know me can tell you I am pretty good at debugging. The developer docs and code comments are virtually non-existent on this subject. I'm talking about the meaning and purpose of specific functions, arguments, classes, variables, objects/arrays and their components, etc. and how they work together to get the job done. If I knew exactly what was supposed to happen when a user logs in, I could track where it is failing to do that.
3. As for the version, I have found that the version numbers in Moodle are meaningless. I mean, I have seen major changes in the source code happen while the version number (like 1.8.1), date (Feb. 15, 07) and time, and internal code (2007021510) remain unchanged. But for what it's worth, those are the version data in version.php in my copy of Moodle, top folder, although the data in index.php is:
188.8.131.52 2007/03/19 04:15:06 nicolasconnault
4. As I've said in my first comment, my Moodle is XAMPPlite on my PC at home. It is not on the internet (although I have DSL so I'm always connected and theoretically exposed to hackers, but I have McAfee firewall). My wwwroot is http://localhost, op. sys. is MS Win XP version 5.1.2600, MySQL server version is 5.0.27-community-nt, Apache version is "Apache/2.2.3 (Win32) mod_ssl/2.2.3 OpenSSL/0.9.8d mod_autoindex_color PHP/5.2.0 " according to phpinfo.php. I don't have multiple Moodles running.
5. I already have $CFG->ignoresesskey = 1; in config.php. I also have $CFG->slasharguments=1;
$CFG->auth = 'none'; $CFG->debugdisplay=1; $CFG->debug=2047; and have tried $CFG->dbsessions=1; At this point the last one is no longer there and I don't remember any more why I removed it. It must have made things worse. I added auth='none' after I started getting the problem, but it doesn't seem to have any effect on it.
6. I just tried running Moodle for the first time since removing all the session files and database table rows. For starters, I get
"Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at C:\down\SourceView\Moodle\Moodle18\lib\moodlelib.php:6939) in C:\down\SourceView\Moodle\Moodle18\lib\setup.php on line 495
Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at C:\down\SourceView\Moodle\Moodle18\lib\moodlelib.php:6939) in C:\down\SourceView\Moodle\Moodle18\lib\moodlelib.php on line 2319
Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at C:\down\SourceView\Moodle\Moodle18\lib\moodlelib.php:6939) in C:\down\SourceView\Moodle\Moodle18\lib\moodlelib.php on line 2320"
at the top of each page, but I can probably debug that myself. When I clicked the Login as guest button, I get the famous "Unfortunately, cookies are currently not enabled in your browser" msg., which is not true.
7. I think that's enough for now!