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In my view, the first function is mis-specified (is there a good reason why
it's not

void lua_error(lua_State *, char *fmt, ...)

? and the second function is misnamed ("v" versions of functions should take
a va_list) and misimplemented (it uses a fixed-size buffer, and fills it
with the insecure function vsprintf, which could overflow).

Why not just change lua_error to do the right thing? This will at a single

a) Improve an inadequate function
b) Plug a security hole
c) Remove a source of confusion (the two names, one of them a bad choice)

Or am I missing something? If so, I grovel humbly!

-- | maxim, n.  wisdom for fools