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Kristian Van Der Vliet has implemented asynchronous input/output. This has been tested with QEmu, which shows increased performance both due to this and the also new implementation of memory-mapped files. A development build with async I/O is already available.
I've always disliked bounties. I'd prefer people contribute because they want to, not because there might be money in it.
I also have concerns that any work that is contributed under a bounty may prove difficult to maintain once the original developer has collected the money: maintaining stuff as Syllable grows is already a problem due to the sheer amount of work involved.