With the advent of PHP 5, I think it is less compelling to switch to a
new languague because the new object oriented robustness make it better
suited for the modular design we could all benefit from. I think PHP 5
can hold its own on the command line, but the only only place it might
be ill suited is the real time configuration as you have said. Maybe a
lightweight C program can handle the very basics, communicating with the
other tiers of PHP?