Getting Twisted. Twisted is a framework, written in Python, for writing networked applications. It includes implementations of a number of commonly used network services such as a web server, an IRC chat server, a mail server, a relational database interface and an object broker. Developers can build applications using all of these services as well as custom services that they write themselves. Twisted also includes a user authentication system that controls access to services and provides services with user context information to implement their own security models.
This is certainly one area where PHP is lacking. Twisted looks really nice for developing specialized network servers.