Looking at logfiles to determine why my website was lower a couple of days ago, I discovered 100s of lines such as these (partly redacted with "x"):

[Comes to an end November 27 23:14:36 2009] [error] [client xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx] PHP Warning: require_once(): open_basedir restriction essentially. File(/var/www/xxx/xxx.php) isn't inside the permitted path(s): (xa0x99xc4) in /var/www/xxx/index.php online 17

Observe that outdoors_basedir value is binary, therefore it will not match anything.

No (admin) change is made around the server to result in this, and none is made to prevent it.. it apparently resolved itself by itself (apache or any other services were not restarted/reloaded). Outdoorsbasedir directive within the apache conf file appears like this:

php_admin_value open_basedir /var/www:/usr/share/php

An amount make the open_basedir value to reload having a binary value, or how can i attempt to trobleshoot and fix this? This is actually the second time within the last two days this issue has come to light.

Apache version: 2.2.8, PHP: 5.3., Linux 2.6.24-23

Looks much like this bug, that ought to be fixed in five.3.1.