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I don't have this problem with 5.9.2.10cvs:

(%i1) factor(x^3-y^3);

(%o1) -(y-x)*(y^2+x*y+x^2)

(%i2) factor(x^4-y^4);

(%o2) -(y-x)*(y+x)*(y^2+x^2)

(%i3) factor(x^5+y^5);

(%o3) (y+x)*(y^4-x*y^3+x^2*y^2-x^3*y+x^4)

(%i4) build_info();

Maxima version: 5.9.2.10cvs

Maxima build date: 12:57 12/20/2005

host type: i686-pc-mingw32

lisp-implementation-type: GNU Common Lisp (GCL)

lisp-implementation-version: GCL 2.6.7

(%o4)

Barton