We're talking about reading configuration files, not writing a web server.
One of my fantasy projects is to write a new shell. The core design idea is to forgo forking. Not because forking is slow per se, but so there can be other optimizations. Instead of forking commands, any time a unique PID is required a slave process from a cached pool will be used to direct signals to the executing process. (Or, perhaps, a kernel extension written for the creation of light-weight PID-only processes.)
With most commands running as coroutines in the same process, you can start adding new features and commands to the shell language not feasible when running a collection of separate processes. Similarly, routines like system() and popen() could be run inside the same process.
The tentative name will be "Project Everything Shell".
It'll compile programs for a simple virtual machine, eventually sporting JIT compilation. Like Java the opcodes will be tailored for shell features, with opcodes for psuedo-forking, etc. In a sense it'll be a tiny Unix-oriented virtual machine.
It won't include interactive features, but because it will be written as a library it will be easy to build an interactive shell. That's a whole 'nother fantasy, though.
I'm not even joking. I'm going to make this happen. Eventually....