Since I've said this to several people at work in the last few days and nobody has had the heart to disagree with me, I will now open myself up to public flaming and see if that helps.
My assertion: it is totally impossible make really reliable, high-performance programs (like oh, say, idb backup) in a language other than C/C++ (and maybe ADA and C#, but I'll reserve judgement for now). This includes, but is certainly not limited to: python, perl, shell, java, tcl, and php. Especially python. And *really* especially PHP.
My evidence: nobody has ever written a reliable, high-performance program in *any* of those languages.
Thank you. Have a nice day.