This is what I did:

1) created new directory
2) went into directory
3) ran: drush dl commons
4) created db: mysql -u -p -e 'create database '
5) cp default.settings.php settings.php && mkdir files (in site/default)
6) chmod 777 settings.php files
7) went to browser & started installer
8) ENCOUNTERED FIRST ERROR - see attached commons_install_error.png
9) clicked the link to the error page - it took me to config page
10) clicked 'save' on config page and it took me to the second error
11) ENCOUNTERED SECOND ERROR - see attached commons_install_error-2.png

I have installed tons of environments... not sure what's up with this profile... Installed on CentOS 6.4; max_execution_time is 120; proper permissions, etc...

Please help... Thanks!