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I'm wondering if a library that uses such general global names as "close"
would conflict too easily with other Lua programs.

A limited solution would be to make lua_socklibopen() take an optional table
name to insert the functions into instead of the global scope.  But this
breaks down as soon as some other library depends on socklib and expects the
names to be in a certain place (global).

Not a simple issue, but I think it will have to be addressed eventually as
more common libraries are created for Lua.