Yes, I restart Apache every change.
error_reporting(E_ALL & ~E_NOTICE & ~E_DEPRECATED);
Blocks php.ini (or reverts to defaults) but enables the code.
error_reporting = E_ALL & ~E_NOTICE & ~E_DEPRECATED
Enables changes to php.ini but blows up the code.
So, presumably, leaving error_reporting(E_ALL & ~E_NOTICE & ~E_DEPRECATED);
in makes the php.ini file unreadable. This is simply a syntax error and the code is at fault.
The weird thing is that commenting out all references to error_reporting blows up the code.