A few web applications has been returning this “Assigning the return value of new by reference is Deprecated” message after I’ve upgraded my local web server to run PHP 5.3. Don’t be surprise if your CakePHP 1.2 app suddenly shows this message. The fact lies in that php 5.3 included a few changes and some scripts are not written to be php 5.3 compatible yet.
Here’s a tip for CakePHP 1.2 developers, in order to get rid of that annoying message from your app, you can edit cake/libs/configure.php so that the line
error_reporting(E_ALL & ~E_DEPRECATED)
Alternatively, you can also download the new CakePHP 1.3 Dev package as compatibility changes have been added for PHP 5.3. If you decide to do that, consider that there are changes from 1.2 to 1.3 as well and you might need some time getting your app running properly in 1.3 (for more info 1.2 to 1.3 migration guide)