jasimon9 - 11:23 pm on Jan 21, 2013 (gmt 0)
As another test I changed the second rewrite rule to have $ at the end of the pattern. With this, there seems to be no effective rewriting or redirection at all. There is no looping, but entering the "old complex" URL gives the page and shows the "old complex" URL in the address bar. Entering the "short" URL then gives a 404 error. It is like adding the $ has nullified the effect of all the rules.
Checking [httpd.apache.org...] I find the following:
The removed prefix always ends with a slash, meaning the matching occurs against a string which never has a leading slash. Therefore, a Pattern with ^/ never matches in per-directory context.
Therefore I am thinking they have to go. So the problem is just that the Windows instance has the looping problem.